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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

Yellow Shoes Run and a redstart

I have just got back from a brilliant little run at Bolton Abbey. We wanted to do our RunDisney Shorts virtual run somewhere nice and fun and not take it seriously at all! so after a lovely little yoga session (Morning Stretches for Back Pain from Yoga Studio) we set off and drove to Bolton Abbey. It was a little overcast but dry and actually looked like it would turn into a gorgeous morning.

So we set off from the Cavendish Pavilion and walked to the top of the first slope – we were meant to be having fun after all, not killing ourselves on the first hill!. We had changed the intervals to try running a bit longer – so running for 2.5 mins and walking for a minute. I thought I might not notice as much if we sneaked in an increase on our fun run and I was planning on stopping for pictures anyway.

The colours were fantastic and the smell of the wild garlic really strong in some places.

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The trees and ferns seemed to offer every imaginable shade of green and brown and we couldn’t help but stop and stare every now and again.

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We pootled on alongside the Wharfe and up to the Strid where this little hill thankfully coincided with a walk break and I just about had time to stop at the top, turn around and take the picture.

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Onwards and downhill a bit – I have to admit, I was scared going downhill – probably even more than usual after my fall last week but it was all fine and soon we came out of the wood and into the open with the aqueduct just ahead of us. This must be roughly half way – obligatory selfie as we crossed the river.

 

 

Just past the aqueduct on the other side of the Wharfe a group of people were standing with binoculars pointed into the trees. We asked if they could see anything good and they said they could see a male redstart and were even kind enough to let us have a look through their binoculars. I’ve never seen a redstart before so that was really exciting and we continued on our way with a spring in our step.

This stretch of the route is what you might politely call ‘undulating’. I call it fucking hilly. I managed to stick to all the intervals and just kept going lost in my own little world just letting my mind wander. And then we came to my nemesis.

Annoyingly it does not look like all that much on the photos but trust me, it’s a bastard. It has literally brought me to my knees and to tears in the past. Today we were having fun so we walked it, took a picture at the top and then headed off again. Downhill and flat from there!

We completed our 3.1miles, or 5km with lots of photo stops and stops to look at birds and the scenery in exactly 45.5 minutes. It was a slow but really lovely run and we have earned our Yellow Shoes Medal (although Valley of Desolation doesn’t sound very Disney, does it?!?)

We celebrated with coffee and breakfast at the Cavendish Pavilion sitting outside in the gorgeous sunshine.

The Marathon

MickeyI am going to keep this short I think because I am really tired after the 4 days of really early starts and running. Today was marathon day. It was mainly just bloody awful.

We got up at 2.30am and left by 3am. Today the queue for security etc was much better – possibly because we were earlier. We got the the retreat tent and had plenty of time to have a bagel and peanut butter, check our bags and then walk out to the coral with the rest of the runners world people. That meant a much shorter walk there so I didn’t hit my 10000 steps until just after mile 1!

We sat for a bit and I was a bit overwhelmed with it all. I did cry a little. The start was delayed slightly, not sure why so we eventually crossed the startline about 8 minutes past 6am. They say you hit a wall during a marathon. Well I guess I hit mine then! I was ok for a bout half a mile, that’s something, right? We stopped for loos at the first opportunity again  and then kept plodding. Mile 1 was sort of ok, mile 2 seemed endless and I was convinced we should be at mile 3 by then. I got a little boost running through the magic kingdom arches and just kept plodding. By mile 5 my hips were sore, my back was sore, my knees creaky and I just wanted to curl up and cry.

Luckily we entered the Magic Kingdome park just after and running through that was great. Then we started the long stretch of just road. By mile 7 I needed extra walk breaks, by mile 8 I had switched the intervals to running a minu and walking two. Finishing seemed utterly impossible. Kath refused to leave me. And I became increasingly conscious that I might not make the required pace for Dopey.

Mickey2I can’t remember at what mile the animal kingdom came but running through the park was a welcome distraction. Running through one of the backlots the staff had brought out animals to see us including a donkey which was awesome (I like donkeys) and a vulture who was perched next to a sign saying ‘run faster, vultures are circling’. Onwards, slowly and painfully onwards.

after the animal kingdom came another long stretch of road that seemed to go on for ever and eventually we hit ESPN wide world of sports which covers roughly miles 17-20 but seemed to take ages to loop round playing fields and through the stadium. I felt awful. At this point I was pretty much just walking and pretty much resigned to the fact that I wouldn’t manage Dopey pace.

more road. Every time something new started hurting it took my mind of what had been hurting before. I had a few stretches where I went dizzy and my vision blurred but it never lasted long. I stopped at every water stop on course and I think I fuelled ok but the last 3 days and the humidity at the start made it a really tough one.

After what seemed like an eternity we reached Hollywood Studios. That was just fantastic. I managed a couple of little jogs through the park and began to hope that maybe, just maybe I might make it. Mile 23 came and went as did 24. Then we entered Epcot and ran round the world showcase. mile 25. I kept repeating ‘just keep walking’ to myself. It didn’t seem possible but somehow I kept moving forward. Then came mile 26. I suddenly believed. I managed what felt like the fastest run ever (but was actually barely faster than a slow walk) along the finishing straight and Kath and I crossed the finish line hand in hand.

We got our marathon medal, had our picture taken and went to the a Challenge tent where we had to have our time checked. we made it. 6.55.04. We had 4 minutes and 56 seconds to spare! We got our medals for the entire Dopey a Challenge and also for the Goofy Challenge which is for completing the half and the full marathons back to back.Goofy

we did it. I couldn’t have completed it without Kath’s constant encouragement. she just kept talking to me, telling me how awesome we were and that we were going to finish.

We just got into the race retreat before they started clearing up, got some food, our bags and then left to get back to the hotel, get a cold bath and then head out for dinner.

It is now 8.15 pm and I am ready for bed and so looking forward to not having to get up in the middle of the night. I’m sore but I don’t think anything is injured. I have done a marathon! And yes it was awful for the most part but it has also given me some great memories and a huge massive sense of achievement!

Reflections on the whole thing in the next few days!

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