Day 3: WDW 10km! (caution, this post contains very bad news)

I couldn’t sleep again! But the nap after race #1 must have been enough because I was functioning fine. Instead of rolling around I got up at 2:30 and started getting the Donald Duck disguise put together and had the standard peanut butter and banana toast race-day breakfast.

My Uber experience was perfect today. We followed the runDisney directions and I ended up in the drop-off/taxi/bus lot where I should have yesterday, and then I walked a couple hundred metres to join the mass crowds from the event transportation from resort hotels and walk to the starting area. Easy. After that simplicity, I now fully recommend my accommodations to others travelling here for a runDisney event!

Almost immediately after entering corral B, I met up with my new friend Dave from yesterday! Unplanned too! We decided to meet in the Reunion Area afterwards and he would give me a lift back to my place since his Marriot hotel was close! I am telling you this because despite what you may think, travelling to a racing event alone is not lonely. Everyone’s here for the same reasons and the majority are happy, excited and into meeting new people, especially the other solo runners. Tons of people come here on a family vacation but just the mom or dad takes part in the running events, or one person is running who travelled with their non-runner spouse, etc. It’s like when you are in the single line for the chairlift at the ski hill, you just don’t actually have to yell out at a bunch of strangers that you’re alone haha.

The 10km had a different vibe than the 5km. It is timed, for one, and not considered a fun-run event. I LOVED IT! But to be honest with you, the first half of the race is not in a Disney park, it’s around it.

10km

I thoroughly enjoyed this race! Even the road running was fun, with so many people and the good energy, almost felt like half-regular racing event, half-Disney event. There were still characters on this part of the course which was awesome. There were a few short, gradual uphills and downhills, and it was kind of a nice warmup to be feeling really good once we entered Epcot around the 5km mark. The second half we ran throughout Epcot, the scenic World Showcase and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. There were way more spectators than yesterday and I loved running on the boardwalk. This place is unreal! Personally, I was feeling amazing and loving the “GO DONALD!!!!” and “I LOVE YOU, DONALD!!!” that I was getting from the spectators and cast-members! Note, I plan to buy my race pics and that’s why I am posting this proof. There are mixed viewpoints on if this is okay or not, so had to let you know.

At some point during this race I officially picked one of my multiple weekend strategy options which was:

  1. Easy 5km, stop for photos if I want, enjoy my first Disney run
  2. Run well and smart, not a race-pace that I’d aim for if I were running only a 10km this weekend, but a good solid effort
  3. Take the half-marathon at an easy and comfortable pace, saving my body for the finale on Sunday (BIRTHDAY MARATHON!!!)
  4. Do my absolute very best effort based on the condition of my energy and physical body.

I did very well for myself and was feeling great after crossing the finish line, but made sure to chug one of the Powerades given out right after the medals (omg look)

and drinking a ton of water and eating a banana immediately. I found Dave easily, who also had a good run he said, and then as soon as he dropped me off at home I ate a Clif Builder protein bar from the race snack box, another banana, more water and the elixir of life: CHOCOLATE MILK. No room for laziness in recovery on a weekend like this! I did a full-body stretch, showered and cleaned up a bit to keep my body moving a little more, and then got into bed for a 4 hour sleep.
I didn’t take many pics today, and I don’t have a ton to report that was different from yesterday, but one thing I didn’t mention was how much discussion was going on about the potential rain and lightening forecasted for tomorrow. All the talk was not creating a good vibe in the corral so I ignored and enjoyed my Prince Rupert rain-tolerant mindset. But now I have to tell you the worst thing ever.

Yes you read that correctly. All races tomorrow are cancelled. Not even lying. Heartbroken. I’m more than a little upset right now. There is lots of talk happening on Twitter about meet-ups being organized by angry Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge participants to run the half-marathon distance at some point tomorrow on their own accord. I haven’t decided exactly what my plan is, but Ches from The KOR Project and I have decided to run 21.1 km at some point tomorrow. It will be at a very easy recovery pace. I can’t accept my Goofy and Dopey medals, and rock the race challenge shirts (which are actually nice, I am VERY picky and rarely like race shirts) unless I run a half-marathon distance tomorrow. So I’ll keep you posted on what happens. There is loud thunder crashing and a downpour happening as I’m typing this so I get it, Disney is doing their job with respect to safety, I just wish they would have waited to make a more last-minute decision in the case that this storm has passed by the early morning hours…GAHHHH!!! Talk to you soon!

 

 

Day 2: Walt Disney Marathon Weekend 5km

It’s pretty normal to sleep poorly (or not at all) the night before a race but I was so tired from travelling that I assumed I’d get a few solid hours. Wrong. Way too excited/anxious about going to a new place in a new way! When the alarm went off at 3:15 I got my Minnie Mouse gear and a throwaway shirt on and called my first Uber ever around 4. I get kind of nervous doing things for the very first time, I’m human, but it ended up being child’s play haha. 

How a ride sharing idea like this doesn’t exist everywhere blows my mind. So easy! It arrived within 10 minutes. The driver was super nice and somewhat familiar with the Disney event situation but we still ended up at a wrong entrance at first. An official directed us towards the drop off area and I was walking with thousands of others towards the starting area within 20 min of leaving my AirBnB. Now that I kinda know the way I should be able to help the next driver if they’re unsure. First Uber experience successful! 

Walking into the main area before the start corrals, I couldn’t believe it when I saw someone I knew! My friend Jill from Toronto who I did Moksha Yoga teacher training with in LA in 2013 ❤❤ I knew she was here but would never expect to see someone accidently among the thousands of runners!

The gear check area was well marked and looked organized which made me feel better about Saturday and Sunday when I plan to check a bag for the longer races. They encourage you not to, if possible, and I don’t need much after runs under an hour so I saved myself the extra step. Gear check is there for you for all the distances though if you need it. 

There was a big concession area with coffee and other refreshments and a massive pump up stage with announcers way more energetic than most of the runners! Keep in mind it’s still only 4:30 am haha. There were some hilarious costumes but I’d say in general it’s mostly running clothes with Disney-esque accessories so don’t feel like you need full-blown get-ups to be a good sport.

Just alongside the corral entry there were approximately one billion Porto Potties. Nice work, Disney! The corrals weren’t sardine-like and it was easy to relax and just wait for start time. And make friends.

The corrals got separated into even smaller waves of runners so it wasn’t very congested, which was awesome. I was in corral B and across the start line by 6:12 (official start of the run today was 6am.)

The first km was just on a road, in the dark with lots of cones and not Disney-like at all which had me a little suspicious but then I realized it was just going around the massive parking lot and looping around before we got into Epcot and it got VERY magical and Disney-like and I was SO HAPPY!!!!

It felt like Vegas! So many lights, loud Disney music and cool architecture. There were characters on course but long lines to get pics with them so I checked them out as close as possible on the way by and just enjoyed that I was running through Epcot ahhhh!!!

Five km went by way too fast. The finish was well organized, tons of volunteers to hand out medals first, of course (love how it has today’s date on it) and I love how crossing a finish line makes me feel, even an untimed fun-5km ❤

Then came tables of water bottles and Gatorade, individual boxes of snacks and bananas for every runner. It was well marked where to proceed to get gear if you had checked a bag and where to get back to the resort busses if that’s how you arrived. I didn’t see a place to go for runner pick-up though. I was about to ask, standing there loving my life and eating an Oreo when I hear “OMG I found you!!” and Ches from The KOR Project was there to greet me HAHAHAHA! He was making vids of the run and had parked in the Wonder Lot. I thought this morning would be more overwhelming but it wasn’t, it was totally manageable even on my own. Tomorrow I’ll figure out where the official drop-off/pick-up point is because I know I wasn’t dropped off in the correct location but again, it all worked out!! 

This race was AWESOME but way too short and early to get a legit Disney experience. At this point in time I still couldn’t be happier to be registered for the Dopey Challenge. I will now eat this pizza and be way too excited for the 10km tomorrow. Please cross your fingers my suitcase shows up tonight!

Day 1: getting to Orlando & the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo

LOL I invented a new challenge for WDW Marathon Weekend where you run even more than the Dopey Challenge. I was basically sprinting across Seattle airport to make my connecting flight to MCO because the de-icing of the plane in Vancouver delayed flight #1 today. And of course when the flight attendants ask other people to stay seated until the passengers with less than 60 minutes to connect are off the plane, EVERYONE stands up and starts wrestling around with uneccesarily large carry-ons. And I was in row 30. Seriously people. 

So ya. My challenge, you run 1km frantically on day 1 before even getting to Disney. Minus the almost-heart-attack situation, I made it to Orlando on the correct flight, even a bit early. It was my first time flying with Alaskan Airlines and I got a really good first impression and will fly with them again. The couple sitting next to me said they always fly Alaska when it’s an option. Noted ✔ (look at their cute carry-on)

Arriving at MCO I got to the carousel and saw lots of mad people. Turns out a baggage belt broke at SEA-TAC and tons of bags got left behind. Including mine HAHAHA good thing I pretended this would happen when writing my packing post and my carry-on is golden! Checked bag should be delivered tomorrow and it was so awesome to have no reason to freak out. Be super smart about that carry-on!!!

Got picked up by my friend Ches from The Kor Project (THANK YOU SO MUCH) and we went straight to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for package pickup (about 35km from the airport to the expo.) AHHHHHHH wooo

It wasn’t as busy as I expected and getting bibs and shirts was really easy. I was given two 1/2 marathon race shirts by accident so I got seven race shirts! It’s a good one too since it’s the 20th anniversary of the half-marathon this year. I got excited and picked up a Minnie-themed tank top at one booth and a Minnie skirt 😉 from Kelly and the ladies at the Sparkle Athletic booth (which Alaskan Airlines will be reimbursing, lol) for tomorrow since my costumey running accessories are in the checked bag. This is a really good expo, and the official Disney gear is awesome. There aren’t costume types of  things like ears though so if you’re looking for that kind of thing you’ll need to go elsewhere before or after.I was hoping for some last minute mouse ears but no luck. Lesson learned. 

My accomodation is perfect so far!! The AirBnB hosts have it stocked with snacks, a case of water, K-cups and even peanut butter and bananas after asking me what my favourites were! I’ll see how it goes with Uber in the super early morning before telling you to stay here when you come down for a runDisney event, but it’s just 10km to Epcot which is the same distance as some of the actual Disney resorts. And like a fifth of the price.

Not the smoothest day, I’d recommend allowing more travel time on the way here to avoid stress, especially since it takes all day long to travel from Vancouver with the time change. But it worked out and there’s nothing I’m missing for the 5km race at 6am! GOODNIGHT ❤

 

 

I haven’t had alcohol in 373 days.

There is a grey area between being an alcoholic and being a party animal. I think what makes a person fall into this space is how the alcohol consumption makes them feel about him or herself afterwards. I don’t even know how I’d define the term “alcoholic,” I never considered myself one, but one thing I do know about myself now is that for about 15 years I was in the grey area, drinking too much alcohol too often and it was affecting me in all negative ways.

If I were to list off every single shitty situation, short or long-term, that I ever ended up in, alcohol was involved 99% of the time. Risky behaviour, arguments or fights with ex-boyfriends, injuries, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, overspending, ignored responsibilities, sabotaged fitness goals, the list goes on and on.

For lots of people it’s not a problem and they can drink without it interfering with quality of life and physical and mental health. This is not the case for me. Since I quit drinking alcohol and talk about it openly now with lots of people, I’m starting to see that it’s pretty commonplace for a person to fall into this grey area and to realize that they do not want to be there anymore.

Kate at The Sober School taught me (and many others!) about how to see booze for what it really is. A not-that-great tasting dehydrating beverage that numbs everything out and changes the way we feel about situations, priorities and ourselves; a disconnect from reality. For me, the best option is to not drink at all. For someone else it might be to moderate. I don’t want this post to feel depressing so I’ll try to talk about why I like my life better without alcohol and not all the reasons I needed to ditch it.

I have WAY more time

Alcohol actually steals your time. Hangovers and sleeping half the day wastes time. Going to the liquor store takes up time. Not being able to drive your own vehicle wastes time. Being drunk or buzzed disconnects us from the present situation and all of a sudden it’s over! Ignoring chores and errands make the next day jam-packed instead of relaxing.

I feel like I have so much time to do whatever I want now because I do not waste time being drunk, buzzed, hungover or procrastinating. No joke, I never have a to-do list because I know what I need/want to get done, and I do it.

FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) isn’t real.

I don’t really know how to explain this one. Maybe it’s because now I know that once alcohol is removed, many parties are just a bunch of random people standing around making small talk and trying to get drunk because it’s “fun.” If there is something going on and I am stoked about who will be there, what we’ll be doing, what will be talked about AND I have the energy and interest, then I’m there. But if not, seriously who cares haha.

I have way more money.

This one is easy. It’s not just the cost of booze that is expensive. Have you ever gotten drunk and thought it was an awesome idea to buy a round for the whole table or the whole bar? Or at 2:30am to buy everyone at 7-11 ALL the taquitos because you love everyone and it’s such a nice thing to do? Taxis. Cover. Snacks you end up wishing you didn’t eat. Shopping after lunch (with drinks) with friends and thinking “YOLO TREAT YO SELF!”and buying $200 gumboots..you KNOW what I am talking about, and it sounds hilarious but when everything is said and done, if there are feelings of regret, guilt, anxiety or worry, that’s a problem. Now I get to spend more money on Oiselle and Lululemon, race registrations, vacations, and dates with my husband just to name a few things. Oh and when I go out for food with my friends the bill is NEVER more than 40 bucks.

I do what I say I’m going to do.

I registered for three full marathons before I actually ran one. Each time I downgraded to the half because I didn’t follow my training plan to be able to complete 42.2km. Don’t get me wrong, I love the half-marathon distance, but I wanted to run a full marathon and wasn’t following through because I really liked drinking a lot of beer or wine (or both) every weekend and many nights during the week! The same week I stopped drinking alcohol I began an 18-week training plan and ran the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1st 2016. Boom. Then I did it again. And I’m doing it again in 6 days.

I finally finished my 500-hr yoga teacher certificate that I had ONE project left to complete but didn’t get around to it for over 2 years. I take the freaking recycling to the depot once or twice a month so the bin isn’t over flowing. I get groceries so I don’t have an empty fridge and eat crap (unless I feel like it.) Guess when I get all these things done? Yes, when I am not drinking, hungover or thinking about drinking. Winning.

I look and feel my own age.

Better skin, more energy, looking and feeling alive and not Googling how to hide a hangover with makeup. Work is just fine because I am not exhausted or feeling crappy. Exercising is something I look forward to. My eyes are white and not red. I’m not dehydrated all the time. Everything is BETTER.

I’m mentally healthier than I have ever been before.

I feel happy, confident and grounded 99% of the time. No anxiety. Better sleep. No depression or worries. Minimal stress. Everything is BETTER

If you are finding yourself in that spot between alcoholic and party animal and you’re over it, trust me you’re not alone. Check out www.thesoberschool.com and www.tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking.com and you will see that sober life isn’t boring, lame or anthing bad at all, it’s actually awesome. I used to be the person who thought it was ridiculous to go out and not drink. I still go out whenever I want, for how long I want, I drive myself there and back, wash off my make-up and sleep well, and then I get up in the morning and sweat, get shit done and buy new running clothes. Email me if you feel like talking about this more! oxoxox

Packing for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!

Last week I went to Kelowna for Christmas and my luggage ended up arriving 18-ish hours after I did. Other than feeling like a dirtbag most of the next day, this wasn’t a huge deal. I didn’t have a race or anything specific like that to be super prepared for but tomorrow when I leave Prince Rupert, my carry-on is going to be packed like a pro. Hopefully my list might help you double-check your packing situation for a race weekend that requires flight(s)

PRETEND that checked luggage does not arrive at the same time I do…

CARRY-ON

  • runners & socks
  • race clothes for WDW 5km on Thursday a.m.
  • Garmin & charger
  • undies, rundies & sports bra
  • toothbrush, toothpaste, deoderant
  • race waiver & ID for package pickup
  • throw-away long sleeve shirt
  • phone & charger
  • medication
  • facewash, moisturizer
  • PJs
  • sunglasses

CHECKED BAGGAGE

  • 2nd pair of runners & more run socks
  • undies & rundies
  • race clothes/costumes for 10km, 1/2 & full marathon
  • bathing suit & towel
  • NON-RUNNING CLOTHES & SHOES (something I would forget, guaranteed)
  • make-up
  • hair washing stuff (I don’t use shampoo/conditioner..explain another day)
  • FlipBelt
  • gels, chews & electrolyte tabs
  • headphones
  • extra safety pins
  • sunscreen & chapstick
  • Body Glide
  • hair elastics & headbands
  • hat
  • garbage bag for home-made poncho before race if it rains
  • CEP compression socks for after races
  • more throw-away shirts

Pretty sure if my baggage was delayed I’d be set for the 5km race at 6am on Thursday. The carry-on situation would be a little different if the first race wasn’t just five kilometers, but it is! If you notice anything missing, let me know! 19 hours til the start of my long journey.

First blog post! Happy 2017

Happy New Year!!

This morning I opened a Snapchat from my online running coach, Andrew, who was making an observation about himself.”All I really care about is running” he said…making training plans for his athletes, planning races, etc. and I responded: ME TOO!!! Obviously this is an exaggeration on both of our parts, neither of us are A-holes who care about nothing aside from running, plus I’m not a coach and I don’t make training plans for others, BUT in the last year I have definitely become beyond passionate about all things running. That Snap made me so happy! I am not alone! Then I assisted my non-runner husband out of bed to head down to the waterfront with me for the Rupert Runners Resolution Run that I was in charge of promoting this year.

At the event my friend Shannon who is a very talented journalist, photographer, yoga instructor and runner, suggested that I blog about the upcoming challenge I’m taking on next week. The Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in Orlando, FL. I obviously agreed with her because now I’m sitting here writing this first post on this new blog. I actively use Instagram as a sort of photo training log and as a place to find inspiration and interact with a massive online running community, but since a caption on a photo isn’t always the best place to reflect or report on day-to-day training and progress, this blog now exists!

If you’re reading it, I hope there will be things that you can relate to, learn from or get ideas and inspiration from. I am no running veteran. Growing up I was a soccer and volleyball player, a tap dancer and a skier. Aside from a few years of elementary school track & field, I don’t have a running background. It was only in 2013 when I was 28 years old that I participated in a clinic with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training and completed my first half-marathon, the Nike Women’s 1/2 in San Francisco. Now, with 6 half and two full marathons under my belt, I’m heading into a giant four-race 78.3 km endurance challenge in just a few days. I have many other goals for 2017 and beyond that continue to evolve over time and experience, and I think writing about all of it is a good idea. More accountability, planning and reflection. Hopefully what I learn along the way is useful to anyone who comes across these posts.

Hope you had a great New Year’s Day. The short, non-competitive Resolution Run reminded me of something very important today, that I actually just love to run. What an awesome thing to be reminded of on the first day of the year.

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