Dopey 2019 Reflections: The Celebrations

Our celebrations started with a long sleep like most good celebrations do. Then we went for a lovely dinner at the California Grill which is located at the top of our hotel. It was a lovely celebration meal with gorgeous food, a blissful glass of wine and gallons and gallons of water. We watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the viewing area at the top of the hotel, had chocolate cake and went to bed. After that Dopey joined in.

Coming with us to all the parks

Drinking ALL our booze

Then he got a bit silly including behaving inappropriately in the toilets (probably Stitch’s influence)

So we limited him to beer and made him drink lots of water and coffee and put him on a time out

Once he’d calmed down a bit we let him come with us and play in the parks until he got a bit tired

So we thought we better feed him

He likes cake!

Dopey 2019 Day 2: 10K

Oh my goodness this morning’s run was just beyond brilliant. It was just perfect but I am getting ahead of myself. After 5k day we were tired and I turned my light out and fell straight asleep at about 8.30pm. I slept well until 1am ish. Then I dozed and eventually got up and made coffee at about 2.20. I felt a bit crappy. I felt like maybe I had a cold starting and my tummy was a bit off. I also felt incredibly nervous. I don’t know why but the idea of 10k day was really freaking me out. I was terrified and my body was physically reacting to that.

I suppose the anxiety is partly why we get everything sorted the evening before, I didn’t have to think, all my things were laid out for me so I just went through the motions and got dressed, had my banana, went to the loo about fifty million times, put my trainers on, pinned my race bib on, went to the loo again and then set off for the bus from our hotel to the start line. Again we were on one of the first buses leaving at half past three. Being on the bus didn’t much settle nerves.

We were better prepared for the cold this time and had bin liners to keep the wind off and space blankets we got yesterday after the run to wrap round us too – the reflection seems to have created a rather spooky selfie effect!. Once in the start area we found somewhere to sit and then took turns going to the loo again. We wrapped up and huddled up and stayed much warmer than yesterday. It probably helped that it was a good few degrees warmer anyway. Once the corrals opened we walked to ours -D this time- and found a spot to sit. It was lovely and warm out of the breeze and being sheltered by 100s of legs belonging to other participants around us. The hosts did their thing on stage, we got a rather screechy version of the National Anthem and then we soon started moving.

Somewhere I had found calm. I’m not quite sure when. Before moving to the corrals I had had the urge to lock myself in a toilet and not come out again. My tummy was still all fluttery and I felt a bit panicked by the idea of putting one foot in front of the other. By the time we started moving slowly towards the start line I was calm and just focused on getting it done, not looking forward to it exactly but wanting to get it done. I ditched the bin bag and then the space blanket and then we were off.

As I started running something happened. I’m not sure what exactly but with every one of those first few steps my mood lifted, I felt better, stronger, more settled and calmer than I had all morning. It took me a while to be conscious of how I felt but when it clicked it hit me: I belong here, I can do this and I’m happy. I started smiling.

The 10k route is really all about pretty standard and potentially dull road running for the first half. You leave the Epcot parking lot and loop around the road. Mary Poppins was providing encouraging snippets from high up on a bridge – it’s nice to be told you’re practically perfect in every way as you run along so I blew her a kiss. We saw Chip and Dale, the evil queen from Snow White in witch form, and Wreck it Ralph. We didn’t stop but seeing them as we went past broke up the road stretch. Before I could really register that I’d been running a while we got to the mile 3 marker. I asked Kath if that could be right. I still felt incredibly strong and this was all feeling a bit easy.

Shortly after we entered an Epcot backlot to the end of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and the the park itself just at the side of ‘Mexico’. As we approached something really odd happened. Kath told me to slow down. She was reigning me in. I’d got excited and had sped up. We still have a half and a full marathon to go so we needed to take this one easy. I hadn’t even planned on running it all, I’d planned on some walk intervals. Running felt amazing though, I didn’t want to walk. The World Showcase was again spectacular. The light was a little different today because we were that little bit later. I really tried to soak it all up. We turned left after ‘France’ again to leave Epcot but this time kept going and did a loop around the Boardwalk area which is an area we have not really explored at all but it looks really pretty all lit up. The best cheering definitely came from ‘Canada’ although ‘Norway’ had a lovely encouraging rhythmic clap and chant going.

We came back into Epcot through the same backlot as yesterday and into ‘the UK’ and from there we made our way into Future World, alongside the ‘golf ball’ and out into the car park and to the finish line. I’d got faster and Kath kept telling me to not push but that if I wasn’t pushing and if I was still running easy I was fine to go on. I wasn’t pushing, I was just running. I have never felt this strong or happy at the end of a 10k. I usually have a moment somewhere where it gets hard or I wonder about a walk break or whether to just slow down and those are the good runs! I didn’t think about running at all really. I didn’t look at my watch so I had no idea about pace. I knew I felt good and I knew I wasn’t pushing. I was just running, happily running. It came as a bit of a surprise that this is possible for me. I always enjoy having run and I occasionally enjoy running a short distance or little bits of longer distances. Today I genuinely enjoyed every step of the 6.3 miles I actually covered. When we were done I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. I hadn’t expected this.

I really like the medal, the red is really vibrant. We picked up our water, space blanket, banana, snack box and headed for the bus stop where we got on a bus immediately. On he journey back to the hotel I tried to let it all sink in but my brain couldn’t quite grasp what just happened. I was really happy and a bit confused all in one. Back at the room we had a Tailwind Rebuild recovery drink, got changed and then headed into the Magic Kingdom for our breakfast date with Winnie the Pooh and friends. After breakfast we had a little walk in the park and then we came back to the hotel and had a nap. I’m coming up on 25000 steps including the 10k and we’re heading back into the park for dinner in a little while. Again that’s still a pretty low step count for Disney and I feel ok so I think we’re getting our half marathon prep right. I’m excited about tomorrow. A little anxious because I know this is going to be a lot harder but mostly excited.

2 down, 2 to go; or in distance a fifth of the way there!

Holiday Running

Right, cards on the table: I am half a stone (pretty much exactly) heavier than I was before my holiday. I can feel it. My pants are tight, I feel heavier and our run today was evidence that booze, Mickey waffles, puddings and Disney World sized portions for 10 days plus jet lag make running when you’re back home pretty miserable. Still, no regrets, not really. Just need to refocus on moving my butt more now.

August was a high mileage month. I clocked up 84.05 miles and the plan was always for the first half of September to be a bit of a rest. We wanted to run in Florida but shorter distances and not every day. Well, we did run. We managed 4 short runs. I was hoping for a few more miles but it was hard going. So, run 1 was on the 7th September, we got up early and headed out in the dark. We left the hotel and headed towards the Magic Kingdom. We were hoping to pick up the path towards the Grand Floridian Hotel but as we got level with the Magic Kingdom entrance we were turned back by some self-important Disney employee who insisted it wasn’t safe for us to be running there. It was annoying but we just headed back and went round the hotel running loop instead. The loop is only 0.9miles long but it’s not an unpleasant route. It was hot and humid – oh goodness the humidity. Running in that was hard, harder than I’d imagined. Anyway – here’s run number one on Relive – and me hot and sweaty at the end of it.

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The second run was another early morning run and the humidity was again intense. I did two loops of the running loop. Kath did a bit more. Then I was done. It was just too hard to breathe. How do people run in that? I was soaked in sweat before I even started running and basically just a giant puddle within a few steps. Still, going out for 1.8 miles was better than no miles! Here’s the loop.

Runs 3 and 4 were either side of hurricane Irma. We had watched the news coverage of the hurricane making its way towards Florida and into Southern Florida. It looked scary. We were being told that we were in the safest place around and the hotel were great at reassuring us and giving us information on what to do. We were under curfew from 7pm on Sunday to 6pm on Monday. So on Sunday afternoon we went for a little trot round the hotel loop before the curfew kicked in. It was already very windy and there had been a significant amount of rain already. It was raining a little while we ran but it wasn’t anything compared to what we saw later in the day, overnight and on Monday. It was still hot but not as humid so actually the 2.25 miles felt much easier than the previous 2 runs. Just at the end of this run I hit my 350 miles year to date milestone too so it felt pretty good and the towels at the door came in handy!

Once we were allowed out again on Monday we went for a walk round the hotel grounds and surveyed the damage. There was surprisingly little damage and the clear-up had already started.

Tuesday morning we set out again. We’d celebrated Irma passing the evening before with a bottle of wine and more pudding so we both felt sluggish and bleurgh and the humidity was back so I just managed 1.25 miles but I did run a little stretch of it with a squirrel who seemed to have forgotten that stepping off the path was an option for it.

Now we’re back home and today I went for my first run. I was actually supposed to run on Friday after landing but jet lag is a bitch and there was no way I was running anywhere, I was barely functioning. Kath ran yesterday but I was in London for work so today I just had to get it over with. It was fairly horrible. I managed to run the first mile, then I ran walked the second and then walked the third. My ankles tightened up really badly and my feet were achey. Still, it feels good to have the first one out of the way and I am sure the next run will be better. Here’s a reminder that actually, mostly, we do enjoy running!

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DNF

DNF. Did not finish. Did Not fucking finish. Yes that’s right. The last race I attempted I didn’t finish. I got to mile 5 of the Disneyland Avengers Half Marathon. I didn’t get my coast to coast medal, I didn’t complete the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge. DN Fucking F. It was a big deal at the time. I was gutted. That was the race that was going to bring all the running efforts and achievements of the year together. It all started going very wrong at about 3 miles. I felt a bit dizzy and sluggish. By 4 miles I needed to walk because my vision was blurred. By 4.5 miles it was clear I was going to have to stop. I felt dizzy, sick and couldn’t really see. There was a water station at mile 5 with a medic there. Kath took me to see her, she got me to sit down at the side of the road, got a wheelchair and with the help of a police officer who just stopped the traffic got me across the road and to the medic’s car. Then we got a little ride round Anaheim backstreets and back to the medical tent at the finish line. I’ll never get to the finish line of a half marathon that quickly ever again. I quickly started to feel better and all medical checks were fine. The doctor suggested that maybe I needed to fuel with more than just water for longer distance. I’m not sure about that – fuelling and hydration felt good. Anyway it is what it is and we had a lovely day in the Disney Parks and somehow it doesn’t matter anymore.

The running wasn’t all bad during our holiday. We had a lovely little jog along the boardwalk along Moonstone Beach. We walked miles in San Francisco including across the Golden Gate Bridge and the 10k race of the infinity gauntlets challenge was loads of fun – genuinely just fun.

10k-running

I haven’t run a single step since we got back. Not a single step. But I will, eventually I will.

 

Getting Ready for Disney Paris

Right, 2 weeks today we will have trotted our way round the Disneyland Paris 5km run and will be chilling out somewhere getting ready for the half marathon. I haven’t written much about the trip. I’ve been pre-occupied with leaving my old job and starting my new job (it’s been good – see here) and generally getting better. So it’s about time!

We set off on Friday lunchtime. We fly from Leeds/Bradford airport and land at Paris CDG airport shortly after 4pm and then we’ll jump on the train out to Disney. We’ll check into our hotel which is the Disney’s Hotel New York.

new-york-hotel-outside
Photo from Disneylandparis.co.uk

After check-in we’ll head over to the Expo to pick up our race packs and have a little look at the merchandise. I don’t need anything so it’s just about getting a little souvenir to take home and mark the achievement. After the expo we have tickets to the Inaugural party. The website calls it a magical evening not to be missed and says it is a

‘unique, private party, on Friday, September 23rd, 2016, at the Walt Disney Studios® Park. Disney Characters will be there, and you will have exclusive access to the main attractions and different catering offers’

It should be fun and means that we don’t really have to think about where to eat or book a table or any of that. After the party it’ll be bed and then the 5km race starts at 7am on Saturday followed by breakfast. We’ve never been to Disneyland Paris so we’ll have a wonder around but also take it easy, maybe have some time at the hotel pool, just relax and rest and hydrate – lots of hydrating – for Sunday morning. In the evening we have tickets to Buffalo Bills Wild West Show – the 6.30pm show is exclusively for runners and their families and they are offering a runners’ menu. We have made our food choices but I can’t remember what we ordered – I’ll dig out the email and add it to our travel docs!

Sunday will be another early wake-up call. 7 am start for the 13.1 miles and apparently the hotels are extending breakfast time for runners so we will be able to go eat properly after the run which is great but they will also offer a light breakfast for anyone who wants to eat something before – we’ll be taking porridge pots but maybe a banana would also be good.

We have no further plans really and we have 3 day park hopper tickets so we can use them Saturday, Sunday and Monday and we fly home just before 5pm Monday so we’ll have the morning at least. I’m looking forward to it, all of it, the trip, the running, the escapism…

Anyway – 11 miles await tomorrow and then we taper – or in our case, we try really hard to get our butts out for the short runs!