Controlling the Controllable – Well, Disney food Planning

I’m still ill. In fact I am worse than I was – I’ve actually felt poorly today – not just coughing and having a really sore throat and snotty nose but I’ve felt feverish and out of it today. I have way too much quite urgent work to do to be ill and I have tried to do bits today but it it’s been rather futile. I drifted in and out of fitful sleep for most of the morning and in between I read the running magazines that had piled up. At lunch time I felt a little more with it and moved downstairs where I tried to clear some work stuff but soon gave up, my brain can’t do anything much today and then dozed watching IMG_7111 copyhighlights from the World Equestrian Games and the show jumping phase of the eventing.

I am not good at being ill. I have been panicking about missing training runs. I really thought I’d be able to be back tomorrow but I don’t think that’s realistic given how I feel today. I have half an eye on the weekend distances and am already worrying about not being able to go out for the long runs and the knock on effect…. STOP. Just Stop. Maybe because I’ve been watching the equestrian stuff and thinking about my riding days or because I was reading the magazines earlier which featured some stuff about controlling things you can control, I figured that I can’t control what I can’t control and worrying about what I can’t do anything about is not exactly useful. So instead of worrying about when I will be able to run again and what impact that might have, I started to think about the things I can control.

At this stage of course things I can do to positively influence a good Dopey Challenge are fairly minimal – once we get there, I’ll be able to control a lot more like hydration, fuel, my pace… – for now it’s the really basic things. I can plan the trip so that’s one less thing to worry about, I can make sure we get there without major stresses, I can make sure we fuel right for the days before and during the challenge and that we can have fun without overdoing it. So yes, I have a spreadsheet! Controlling these things has the added advantage that it takes me away from reality for a while and allows me to immerse myself in Disney magic. I can escape, well at least until my own coughing fit brings me back to reality every now and again.

IMG_7297So, here’s the plan. We have now booked an airport hotel for the night before our trip so we can get to Manchester without worrying too much about the weather and having to leave really really early. We have booked our restaurants for during the Challenge so we can eat where we wanted to and more importantly, eat at a sensible time for us that fits in with our running and training. So if you’re not interested in Disney at all, stop reading now.

We arrive the day before Expo Day. We have booked breakfast at Chef Mickey’s for Expo Day morning. Let’s face it, we’ll need a good breakfast before braving the insane people who seem to feel the need to buy everything at the expo. Our strategy has always been to get in, get our bibs, pick a souvenir from the RunDisney merchandise, possibly walk through the other stalls and then leave. It’s worked well in the past. The rest of Expo day is unplanned so far. 5km Day will, like all of the run days, start stupidly early but that’s part of the Challenge really, so we will have breakfast afterwards. We’ll be spending theIMG_7207 day in the Animal Kingdom. Last time we stayed in Epcot but we walked way too much. We tend to walk less at the Animal Kingdom and there are lots of places to sit and watch the animals (and people) although we’ll have to try hard to resist the mojitos. They’ll have to wait until after Dopey. We’ll pick up snacks in the Animal Kingdom throughout the day and then maybe head back and eat at the Wave – still one of my favourite Disney restaurants, particularly when I’m in need of a bit of quiet.

10km day is similar in structure and we’ll have breakfast after the run again, this time in the Magic Kingdom at the Crystal Palace. 10km day will require real discipline. The run won’t make us feel really tired and the temptation will be to spend time in the parks, too much time. So I’ve kept us in the Magic Kingdom for breakfast and for dinner so we are close to our hotel at the Contemporary. Dinner is at the Diamond Horseshoe. I don’t think we’ve been but the menu looks great and should work well for fuel for the half marathon. The reservation works well for eating and then slowly making our way back to the hotel catching the fireworks on our way out of the park and heading for bed.

IMG_7154 copyHalf marathon and marathon days means we don’t have breakfast as such. We’ll have our porridge pots probably. I’m trying both porridge pots and bagels with peanut butter in training. Both are easy to sort when there because we can take porridge pots and they have bagels and peanut butter there, from memory even at the race retreat which we have booked for the half marathon and marathon days. Although I need to work out the timings of when we are likely to actually start running so I can work out when I need to eat – can’t do that until we know what corral we’re in. I can of course guess but this is about controlling the controllable. For after the half marathon we have booked a very early lunch at the Wave and then Tony’s for the obligatory pasta before marathon day. So we’re not venturing far and if the weather permits a dip in the cool pool will definitely help. The plan is simply to be around the hotel, relax, stay off our feet with just a couple of gentle strolls to and from dinner to move a little.

The Dinner reservation at Tony’s is early because we’ll need an early night. I will of course be terrified – we’ll deal with that later. Marathon day will be the 4th very early start, it will be overwhelming and I’d be tired enough with just that, throw in what may well be 6-7 hours of running (I would of course like it to be far less but I will have run a half marathon the day before and the last Dopey marathon was just under 7 hours so…) 7C1000C1-2CFA-454E-B8F7-91362B358279and I am going to be cream crackered when we’re done. Last time we went out after the marathon. It was all a bit of a rush by the time we had got back to the hotel, had a bath, changed and then headed out to Disney Springs. This time we’re not doing that. We’ve built in some time to maybe even have a little nap and then we’re just heading upstairs in our hotel to the California Grill to celebrate. That way we can have a glass of wine (and that chocolate volcano pudding – it was rather lush) and then get them to gently roll us into bed.

The plans for after the Challenge are coming along nicely too but I’ll tell you about them another time. For today it was nice to spend time looking at menus and think about where we might be when and what would keep us active enough without overdoing it. So tomorrow I hope will be a better day and maybe I can go for a walk at least even if I can’t run and hopefully by the weekend I’ll be well enough to have a go at the mileage. I’ll keep you posted!

Getting Excited About Disney

I don’t quite understand why I like Disney World. I am not a massive Disney film fan, I hate all that is corporate America and I don’t even really like theme parks and yet there is something. Escapism. I like that for the duration of your stay magic really does exist and anything is possible. I know how that sounds, I know it makes no sense but there you have it. I am excited about going to Disney World and I am exctied about running at Disney World.

We’ve spent some time over the last week or so looking at places to eat and decided to book a few places for those meals where timing and type of food might be most important – the day before our run and the day of our run. As we have signed up for both the half and the full marathon to keep our options open (we are obviously aiming for the full) we  have booked dinner before both as well as somewhere to go once we’re done and have done the initial re-fuel at the race retreat.

If you are not in the slightest bit interested in Disney, stop reading now or skip right to the end. Here’s what we’ve booked with the running in mind:

Dinner the evening before the Half Marathon (which is Plan B but dinner will be lovely whatever!): Dinner at the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom. I think we have previously only had breakfast here but I may be wrong. The buffet makes sense because we can both choose what we want and they have plenty of runner friendly food to choose from.

The day of the half marathon (which is also the day before the marathon!) –  Breakfast – we have booked the race retreat so will see what our fuelling experiments discover. It may be that we have some peanut butter on toast or it may be that we have a banana or it may be that we take our own stuff to Florida with us. If we are not running, we’ll just have breakfast in the Wave at our hotel – should be ok not booking. Dinner is booked early at Tony’s, also in the Magic Kingdom – we both like it here and pasta seems like an excellent plan before the marathon (or just generally!). If we have run the half then we will add an early lunch in somewhere but we’ll book that nearer the time if we need to.

Marathon Day – Breakfast – we’re not messing about with trying out new stuff on the day. We have the race retreat so – as with the half, if they do stuff we have trialled and are happy with we may take advanatage of it, if not, we’ll have something with us. We will also be able to re-fuel at the race retreat immediately after the run which will be great. There’s no point in booking lunch – I might well still be running (crawling?). Instead we’d like to take advantage of the cool down party at Downtown Disney and celebrate what will hoepfully be an amazing running success. We have booked a table for early dinner at the Boathouse which looks like the perfect place for a celebration. If all goes well we should have plenty of time for a post-run bath and little snooze before heading over to the restaurant to eat. After dinner we’ll see – party or bed?

For the day after the marathon we have booked breakfast at the Crystal Palace – I like the breakfast here  – it’s a nice atmosphere and lovely building (try and hide the bacon from piglet!) and it is within crawling distance of our hotel but will make us leave the hotel and walk a little bit even if we are very sore.

Looking through the restaurants, reading the reviews, scanning menus and booking a few meals was fun but also a little scary. It is all getting to be a bit real now. This is happening. We are actually doing this. It’s more than just planning a holiday somehow. It’s hard to explain but the planning and looking what we might do and see around the marathon weekend keeps me motivated. I want the trip to be special and the running is part of that and I want to come back having successfully tackled the distance and having enjoyed it. Keeping that in mind helps with the ‘nah I’ll go tomorrow instead’ feeling.

I feel differently about the running now than I did a couple of months ago even. I don’t feel more confident exactly, I still have my demons, my ‘you silly fat cow, you can’t run’ voice and I often think it is absolutely right but I also have a slightly obsessive determination now. I’ve gone from ‘wouldn’t it be hilarious if I actually managed to do this’ to ‘ I am going to do this’. That’s not to say that the idea of me running a marathon isn’t utterly ridiculous, it is. It absolutely is – but somehow that really doesn’t matter. After all, it’s Disney. There’s nothing that can’t be achieved with a bit of fairy dust.