Travel has been crazy the last few months (writing this while sitting in a seat on a flight from MSP to PHX), and I don’t see it getting too much better. My training has definitely suffered as it is had to find time to get even a small run in. The body and mind are willing but the location is not always able. I know I can try harder to make that happen and I need to do that soon, as the Dark Side Half in Disneyworld in April is going to be painful.
I had hoped to finally get my sub 2 hour PR but I don’t think that is possible now. Running is not something you can catch up in quickly like catching up on email or even sleep. If you don’t put the mile in, you don’t get the results. You can’t do 11 tomorrow if you got 5 in two days ago but missed your 6 yesterday. That would not only be painful but also foolish for your body.
The focus not is planning for runs during travel, even if it means inclement weather locations like Minnesota this week. I have never had good luck with my lungs and running in cold weather, it always end up in a hacking cough and sickness. Perhaps I need to look into a nationwide chain of fitness centers like LifeTime, or even check on day passes if the weather is bad and my hotel does not have facilities. I have some homework to do.
I have been meaning to write this review for a long time now and was finally kicked in the butt by a recent conversation I had with my race partner. Turns out, Disney will not be repeating the relay next year or even in years to come. This is unfortunate as I had a fantastic time, reconnected with some old friends and made a new friend all in a few glorious days.
The 2012 Disney Marathon weekend was the first time (and sounds like the last) that the Run Disney program allowed a team of two to compete in the full marathon as a relay. The race was divided evenly between the two runners so each of us had a chance to run a full 13.1 across the 26.2 course that the full marathoners would run. The only choice a team would need to make was, who would run the first leg and who would run the second. I had one more choice: who would I run with.
When I first heard about the relay I immediately decided I wanted to do it but I would need to find a running partner. I took to the Disney message forums, of which there are many specifically for Disney runners.and after many weeks of looking and asking, finally paired up with a fantastic woman Charrissa, from Connecticut. She and her husband are avid Disney fans and runners and like me, she likes the half as a preferred distance. We exchanged messages for a few weeks before finally speaking on the phone to finalize our team name (Keep Moving Forward), our travel plans and our meet up logistics.
My wife Lorie and I had plans to go down to Orlando on Saturday, the day before the race with our good friends the Demskis who I have know for over 30 years and we were going to say into the next week post race to enjoy the parks. Charrissa would be getting there on Friday and leaving out early Monday to head back home. She was coming down solo as her husband and she had just been down for the Wine and Dine Half so he was not able to get off work again.
We had the first flight out from Chicago so there were no delays and we were in Orlando, on the Magical Express and at the Brach Club Villas before noon on Saturday. I called Charrissa and we agreed to meet up at 3 over at the Big River Brew pub on the boardwalk, which is just across the lake from our resort. It was a bit strange meeting your running partner for the first time less than 24 hours before you were going to run together, but we were all excited to meet her for the first time. We were just finishing up lunch outside on the boardwalk when she walked up. We had a meet up and discussed the logistics for tomorrows race.
We had decided ahead of time that she would run the first leg, as she had never run through the Magic Kingdom before (I have on the Full and Half Marathons that I have done there in the past) and that would give me a chance to run the second leg which passes right by our resort with just under 2 miles to go. There, hopefully, Lorie, Rick and Yvonne would be standing by with an cold beverage for me, or at least an encouraging hug. With everything planned out, we were ready for Sundays race.
Both Charrissa and I need to be at the Epcot parking lot by 5am for the walk to the starting corals, which means that even though I would be starting my leg about 2 hours after hers I still needed to get to the main starting area at the same time as her. We decided to meet under the orange and white strip tents in the queue area where she was waiting with some other Disney forum runners she had raced with before. The main area were we all gather is very well marked with various colored roof tents (the little 10ft wide ones with no sides) and some larger tents for medial, bag drop-off and paid admission prerace eats and drinks. The layout makes it very easy to plan your meet ups both pre and post race.
Charrissa made her was to the starting corals which is about a 15 to 20 minutes walk from the main queuing area, and I made my way to the relay bus corral ( yes they had us in a little fenced in area like little excited ponies) for my ride over to the Magic Kingdom parking lot. My ride took about 15 minutes and I arrived at my waiting area by 5:30, about 15 minutes before the first wave was to start back at Epcot. It was a bit chilly out there in the open and Disney had provided ‘butt warmers’ for us to sit on as part of our race packet. I decided to forgo the warmer and instead had procured an extra large hoodie just for this purpose, so i just pulled that down over my legs and sat on part of it like my own little tent. Many racers will bring a piece of clothing to this event an plan on leaving it behind when they start their run, which I also did . Disney collects the garments, washes them and then distributes them to local charities.
I had about a two hour wait as Charrissa’s estimated finish time was 1:50 so I alternated a little rest and some roaming around taking in the various events that I could see from my lot. This being a Chip and Dale themed relay, the two boys them selves made an appearance in our lot and posed for photos with anyone who wanted to participate. I could also see a row of classic cars to the left of our lot and could hear the classic rock the DJ was playing along that stretch of the course. At the front of our lot was a stage with a giant view screen and the transition area where we would ‘hand off’ to the second runner, We had our own DJ to keep us motivated during the wait and the jumbo screen was showing live shots of the runners from the starting gun all the way through the Magic Kingdom.
From this are I was able to see the elites run by to our left as the ran towards the Magic Kingdom, and to our right as they came out. I had never been able to see them so far out ahead by themselves so this was a pretty special moment. I noticed that many of the runners did not even see them going by but I had been looking forward to seeing this and started watching about 10 minutes before I estimated they would come by.
I believe one of the reason they are not going to do the relay again was complaints form the second leg runners who had to wait around for the first leg runners. I was fortunate that Charrissa was a sub 2 hour runner so my wait was really pretty good ( I tend to enjoy any time I have down in Disney even if I am sitting around waiting for something), but I can see how the second leg runners who had a 3 plus hour first leg runner would be getting a bit antsy by the tie they showed up. The only way to get around this, in my opinion would be to have the team do a true estimate of their first leg partner and get over to the MK parking lot 1 hour before that estimated time. But that would mean the second leg runners would need to get to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center by the Magic Kingdom) directly instead of going over to Epcot as a starting point. So, Disney would need to provide busses from the hotels to two different locations and a monorail from Epcot not just to Epcot which would probably be too confusing at 4 am. Or perhaps if they at least provided a warm tent with a few characters and maybe a little food, that could make the wait a bit more bearable for the second runners.
The other thing that would have been nice would be to have your first leg partners name show up on the jumbo screen wen they were within 5 minutes or arriving at the exchange point. That would be easy enough to do as we were all wearing D-Tags on our shoes for timing and they knew who the first leg runners were. They would just need an extra strike pad 1/2 mile or so out to make this happen.
I started looking for Charrissa at about the 1:40 mark and saw her coming up on the shoot at 1:45. She was right on the mark and actually PR’d the race (way to go Charissa!) I pushed and excused myself through the other waiting second leggers and stepped out into exchange area. If I had been thinking ahead I would have given Charissa an acorn to carry for a hand off as there was nothing provided for the exchange. It was more of me flagging her down doing a quick hug and congratulations and then I was on my way.
It was still before 8 am when I took off so the weather was a perfect sub 60 degrees. I wont bore you with a mile by mile account but I did do better than I expected. I had been training for a 2 hour half like Charrissa, and was right on track for most of 2011, but I ended up getting a chest infection that prevented me from running for three months.which pretty much wiped out all my hard work. I had estimated that I would fining in about 2:40 and ended up doing a 2:25 which is OK considering my retraining window.
I mentioned earlier that our resort, the Beach Club Villas, was just under two miles from the finish, right along the running route. We try to stay there every year during the race so I can run by the family on my way to the finish. I pass right in front of the resort before entering the back entrance of Epcot for the final mile around the countries, past the big golf ball and exit out to the finish line in the parking lot near where we started.
I was really looking forward to seeing my wife, Rick and Yvonne at this late point in the race for a little moral boost. They did not disappoint me. As I approached their cheering section Lorie jumped out and gave me a hug, to which the lady next to her said ‘eeeewww, how can you hug him when he’s all sweaty like that?’. Lady we have been married for 25 years and she has seen me a lot worse. I was able to get a quick hug from Yvonne and Rick as well then I pushed on to the finish.
One of my favorite parts of the Disney marathon, which I wrote about here also, is the full on live gospel choir they have about 300 yards from the finish. Just when you feel like you can’t go any more you get a nice boost that helps me quicken my step towards the finish line.
Charrissa and I had planned on meeting under the same orange and white test post race so I got my knees wrapped in ice, stood for my post race photo, grabbed a banana and PowerAde and headed over to meet the group. Everyone was all smiles despite the obvious pain some of us were in (things obviously hurt a little more as we get older) and we all recounted our high points and low points of the race. I stuck around for a little while then we exchanged hugs and discussed when we would talk next to exchange photos etc. I made my way, slowly, to the bus for my ride back to the hotel. There were a few finishers near me on the bus, who had just run for the first time here and were wondering how they would feel over the next few days. I suggested that they should step out sideways on Disney transportation for the rest of their stay. What I mean by that is instead of walking straight down the stairs to exit a bus (going up does not really hurt too much), you stand at the top of the stairs then turn either left or right so you hip is facing the stairs. You then take your steps down that way which put less stress on your knees. Believe me it works and you can easily tell who the runners are when they exist any transportation.Back to the hotel for a much needed shower and a race debrief with my friends.
Once again, I had an awesome race experience here at Disney (thanks Charrissa)and I look forward to next year. A special thanks to Rick and Yvonne, for sharing the experience with us.I hope we can do it again in the future. We had talked about not coming down for 2013 as we will be going to Disney Hawaii for our 25th anniversary, but I have such a good time and it gives me something to train/look forward to for the next year, that I think I need to do it again. When does sign up start for 2013?
Once again, the fine folks at the Chicago Half Marathon and U.S. Road Sports & Entertainment Group have generously donated an entry for the September 11th, Chicago Half Marathon, which takes place on a beautiful out and back course that is actually run on LSD (no not that LSD, Lake Shore Drive). Details about the course and facilities etc. can be found here.
The Half Marathon starts at 7am followed by a 5K start at 7:45am. The half requires a 13 minute per mile pace. All runners receive the following:
Commemorative Technical long-sleeve T-shirt
Computerized Timing & Scoring
Great course support
Entertainment throughout the course
Outstanding post-race party in beautiful Jackson Park
Water & Gatorade Endurance available at 10 aid stations along the route
USATF certified course and finishers receive a Custom finishers medal.
Packet pickup will be at Navy Pier, Exhibit Hall B at 600 N. Grand Avenue. Expo hours are Friday September 9th from noon to 6pm and Saturday September 10th from 9am till 5pm. Admission to the expo is free and open to the general public but you will need to pay for parking. You can get an all day parking pass at the expo for $10 instead of the normal $23 the pier charges.. Just plan ahead, get there early and walk around the pier and enjoy what Chicago has to offer. There is NO Race Day Pickup on Sunday the 11th, so if you forget, you will be watching the race from the sidelines. The deadline for entry is August 26th and they are limiting the entries to only 20,000 this year.
To enter our giveaway for a free race entry, just comment on this post and let us know what social media tools, if any, you use to complement your running or help you find running partners, groups etc. I will pick the winner at random on Tuesday August 2nd at midnight, so you have 3 weeks to enter. We will send the winner an email with their free signup code. Please only enter if you are able to attend the race and use the code. You are welcome to comment even if you don’t want to enter, but let us know in the comment to exclude you from the drawing. Good luck and see you at the race.
Update – 8/2/11- I’m going to give this a few more day as no one seems to want a free entry. Come on people, it’s free!!! I will do the drawing next Monday the 8th.
Once again, the fine folks at the 13.1 Marathon Series have generously donated an entry for the June 4th, 2011 Half Marathon, which takes place along the beautiful Chicago lakefront path. Details about the course and facilities etc. can be found here.
Packet pickup will once again be a Fleet Feet Pipers Alley at 1620 N. Wells Street. If you have not been to the Old Town area in a while, parking is hard to find, so you may want to go with a friend and have one of you run in for pickup while the other circles the block. They had parking validation at a garage around the corner last year, but if that garage is full you are out of luck. Just plan ahead, or better yet, plan on spending a few hours, get there early and walk around and enjoy the neighborhood for a while. Pickup is on Thursday June 2nd from 4 – 8 PM and Friday June 3rd from 10am – 8PM. There is NO Race Day Pickup so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
To enter our giveaway for a free race entry, just comment on this post and let us know how the cost of race entry fees has affected your choice of races to enter. I will pick the winner at random on Thursday April 28th at midnight, so you have just over two weeks to enter. We will send the winner an email with their free signup code. Please only enter if you will be able to use the code. You are welcome to comment even if you don’t want to enter, but let us know in the comment to exclude you from the drawing. Good luck and see you at the race.
UPDATE: 4/28/2001 – The drawing is tonight so get your entries in.
Update: 4/29/2011 – Congratulations go out to Kristan Huenink who is the winner in our random drawing for the entry in this years Chicago 13.1. Thanks to everyone for your insightful comments on the high cost of racing. We will have more giveaways this year so keep in touch.
We are having our first giveaway this month to celebrate the upcoming 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon and Karhu 5K, which both take place on Sunday June 13, 2010 along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront. Our generous sponsor Karhu is giving RunMorganRun readers a chance to win a brand new pair of Karhu “Forward Ride” running shoes. The lucky winner can sport a new pair of kicks while they enjoy the sights and sounds of the 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon or the Karhu 5K. Please note that the winners choice of size and color subject to availability. Instructions are below.
Forward Fulcrum Ride Women’s in charcoal and violet – Men’s in charcoal and yellow
Multiple Options for Multiple Entries:
1.) Just visitKarhu.com to read about the awesome Forward Fulcrum Ride shoes, then leave a comment on this post about what you think is the best feature of the shoe and how you would like to incorporate the shoe into your running lifestyle. (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment. If I cannot contact the random winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.
2.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – it may have been filtered and just need approval.)
3.) Tweet it. If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry!
Feel free to do all three to gather multiple entries to win! You have until midnight CST on Monday, June 7, 2010, to enter so that we can get the shoes to the winner in time for the run. The winner will be drawn at random from all entries and will be notified by email. Good luck.
Note: This contest is only available to Chicago area residents.
Update: 6/8/10 Congratulations Mike S. He is the winner of our shoe giveaway. Look for his review here after he has put them thru their paces.
Had another great run today on my road to recovery. It was just a short 4 miler but I felt really good and I did not break the two rules I broke on Wednesday night (tonight I started the run at 6:30 pm and waited till after the workout to eat). Not being so rushed makes a big difference in my attitude towards the run and allows me to concentrate on what I need to accomplish.
Wednesday I talked about using my iPod and Nike+ to help track my progress and crank through some of the podcasts I listen to. The Nike Running site, which is where you upload your workout data from the ipod, has added some really nice motivational features in the last year. In particular, I like the goals section where you can set a goal for yourself and track your progress on line. You can challenge yourself to run faster, run farther, run more often, burn calories or set a coaching program for yourself. The coaching section is helpful if you are training for a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon or some other custom distance.
The challenges section allows you to participate in pre built challenges like the January challenge to rack up the most miles in one month per team. In this case, team participation was determined by the state you live in. Other challenges let you select the team you wanted to run for, like you alma mater if it is a college based challenge. I just joined one that challenges you to run 210 miles in 2010. You can also create your own challenge and invite the public to participate.
Once I get rolling with the Nike add on, I like to listen to podcasts via headphones or some small computer speakers that I Velcroed to the treadmill. Tonight it was ‘Buzz Out Loud (BOL)’, one of the many great CNET technology podcasts you can find at www.cnet.com/podcasts. BOL is usually just over an hour long so I can get a nice 10K in per episode including a warm up and cool down. I have a backlog of podcasts left over from my injury time so I have a bit of catching up to do. I plan on squeezing in a few audio books as well that I have form www.audible.com. I will post a review of those in my book section once I finish each book. You can’t beat feeding the mind and the body at the same time.
The day started with packet pickup at the Wide World of Sports which is kind of off by itself over by the Pop Century resorts. The easiest way to get there is to get to Holloywood Studios and take the WWOS bus from there. They have busses running every 20 minutes to accommodate the weekends racers.
The pickup was very well organized with sections for Marathon runners, Half Marathon runners, 5K runners and Goofy runners (doing the half and the full). We were required to show our race waiver and a form of ID in order to receive our number, timing tape (not a chip anymore), and various instruction sheets.
Everything comes in a nice blue mesh shoulder bag which will be used on race day as your clothes check bag. They used to give you a clear plastic bag on race day to check anything you don’t want to take on the course with you. i don’t think people will be checking too much on Sunday as it is supposed to be 30 degrees at the gun.
After packet pickup you walk over to the expo to pickup your race shirt and safety pins to attach your number. You have an opportunity to purchase official merchandise as well as items from various vendors. I imagine the hats and gloves will sell well this year. A tip for the expo. The official merchandise lines are very long, so be prepared to wait. They are Disney lines so they move well but it can still take 30-40 minutes to make it through.
We headed over to Hollywood Studios to mill around for a while but did not get to go on anything as all rides were about an hour wait and we had a dinner reservation to get to. We got back to the hotel for a quick change and hopped on the monorail for a quick ride to the Grand Floridian. We had a early reservation for Citricos so we could get back and watch the College Championship Game (Go Bama). I had the Roasted Chicken Breast with pappardelle pasta, wine-braised artichokes, grape tomatoes, basil pesto and savory chardonnay broth. Matt had the Braised Short Ribs with creamy polenta, sautéed greens, and blood orange demi-glace. Excellent meal. Head and shoulders above last night. Monorail back to the hotel and up to the Top of the World for the game.
Watched the first half the game form the lounge. Wow, what a turn of events for Texas. Doesn’t look like they can pull that one out. 5K early tomorrow morning. Time for bed.
Welcome to my world. This is the initial post form my new blog, Run Morgan Run. I decide to take this thing live right before I leave for Florida to run in the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon as I wanted to capture the trip as my first extended attempt at writing. I have never been much of a writer (or at least attempted to be) not since writing for the high school paper. In addition to the writing, I was a photographer for the paper and the music director for the radio station. Both those jobs continue to influence my life today and I wanted to reconnect with writing.
Before I continue, I must give props to Doug Schneider. Doug was a high school friend who was on the radio station with me and went on to become a successful writer in the New York state area. We recently had a chance to reconnect while he was in town for the holidays and I will be bugging him for advice as I move forward with this new adventure. Doug is the Public Service Editor at Press & Sun-Bulletin (Gannett Central NY Newspaper Group).
Back to my reason for this blog. As the name of this blog suggests, I am a runner. I started running almost two years ago as a way to stay healthy and set and achieve some concrete goals (you can’t cheat running goals. If you don’t put in the time, it really hurts on race day). I wanted to track my progress as I train for and participate in races, local and not so local. So far I have done 5K’s, 10K’s Half Marathon and this Sunday my first Full Marathon. I plan on getting involved in Triathlons as well in the coming year.
So this blog will track my progress with those and other activities I like to participate in as well as commentary on my daughters volleyball career (traveling volleyball is a part time career for the parents as well), travels for my day job (Service Management Project Manager) and other things I want to try.
So, thanks for visiting and please bear with me as I attempt to get better at this and at least make it interesting.