Walt Disney World Marathon: Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge Part II

IMG_3556I’m glad I bonked the Thunder Road Marathon in November.

 

The wise words of Anthony D’Angelo say it all:

 

“In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do next time.”

 

As I mentioned in my previous post on the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Goofy Challenge Part I,I did everything wrong during this marathon. As I drug my dehydrated, defeated body over that finish line I didn’t know if I could ever run again, much less run not one, but two marathon events only one month away.

 

I was physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. I felt as if I ate too much chocolate cake. I overdosed on something I once loved and I didn’t know if I could ever look at running in the same way again.

 

My training plan had me hitting the pavement again for a six mile run after one day of rest, so I dutifully headed out for my run. It felt like I had cement blocks tied to my legs. I trudged forward, feeling as if I was running in quick sand, getting slower and more entrenched with every step.

 

I stuck with my plan, but with each successive run, I became slower and less motivated. Sure, I’ve had days in the past that I didn’t feel like running or I had to force myself out of my warm bed and lace up my running shoes, but nothing like this. The following Saturday I had a 18 mile run, which wasn’t the longest run in my plan and it certainly was less than the previous weeks’ 26.2, but that was my worst training run. I ran from Leroy Springs Recreation Complex in Fort Mill to the Gold Hill YMCA, which is 9 miles, and back. A simple out and back run should have been enjoyable, but instead I was miserable. I became slower with each mile. As I sat in the hot tub after my run I reflected on my journey and realized I couldn’t continue like this. The Goofy Challenge was only a month and a half away and I was regressing. All signs pointed to overtraining. There is a fine line between adequately training for an event and overtraining. I wasn’t letting my body repair itself in between workouts and I had overtrained. I hope others can learn through my mistakes. Please look out for the following signs:

 

  1. You’re getting weaker and slower and your stamina is deteriorating despite regular exercising
  2. You are losing leanness despite increased exercise
  3. You feel tired, drained, sluggish and have a lack of energy
  4. You’re unable to sleep
  5. You have pain in your muscles and joints
  6. Loss of enthusiasm for the sport
  7. Headaches

 

I consulted with my running coach, Deb, who was amazing through this process. She advised me to take some time off from running to recuperate. So I did yoga, lifted weights, continued with my aqua jogging class and cut back my mileage on my weekly long run. The following week we were on vacation in Walt Disney World, so I was really able to relax, spend time with my family and not worry about my training or running. This worked wonders. I came back the following week completely refreshed and feeling great.

 

I hopped back on my training plan upon my return. I began doing all of my long runs at the Greenway by my house for a change of scenery. I downloaded The Nutrition Diva Podcasts to have something interesting to listen to during my runs. I watched my favorite show, 30 Rock, while I ran on the treadmill. My amazing husband who supported me through this entire process and listened to my running ailments ad nauseam bought me new running gear from my favorite store, Lululemon. In short, I gave myself new motivation to go out and run.

 

 

The Walt Disney World Marathon and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge was only one month away at this point and the words of Eminem rang in my mind: “Success is my only m$#@* option, failure’s not.”

 

I had invested time, energy and money to complete this challenge and I would not fail. I had announced to everyone that I was doing the challenge. My kids were excited about their upcoming trip. I had everything on the line. But, would I be able to complete the challenge? Was I trained enough since I had to scale back the plan? What if I got down to Disney and bonked this race? There was much more at stake this time. Check back tomorrow for Part III of the Goofy Challenge where I’ll let you know how it turned out and the top running and training tips that you’ve haven’t heard before! In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you. Do you agree that you learn more from failure that success? Have you ever felt like just giving up?

Goofy Challenge Part I

stacythunderroadBeing a fat kid is the best thing that ever happened to me.

Sure, I endured teasing as a child. It wasn’t uncommon for me to hear chants of “Boom bada boom,” when I walked by or have endearing messages written in my yearbook like the one from Beth Sloan that said, “Ha, ha, you’re fat and have red hair.”

See, the thing is that if I would have been a thin, cute and popular child, I may not have developed the drive improve myself and take on new challenges as an adult. I see plenty of formerly knobby kneed kids from my old ‘hood (courtesy of Facebook) who are now overweight and miserable.

The best thing about childhood is that it’s fleeting and sets the tone for how you live the rest of your life.

I had to learn how to lose weight and stay in shape the hard way. Those kids who grew up saying things like, “I can eat whatever I want and I just don’t gain weight” are now experiencing the harsh reality of aging.

I lost 80 pounds and have maintained it for about ten years now, with the exception of having to lose the baby weight after two pregnancies. I’m sorry I don’t have a sexy story about how I lost the weight through raspberry ketones, a gluten-free diet or a magic pill. I lost the weight the old-fashioned way thorugh exercise and diet. Through the process I’ve challenged myself with new goals to stay motivated and keep the weight off. That brings me to my most recent challenge, The Goofy Challenge in the most magical place on earth: Walt Disney World.

The Goofy Challenge includes running a marathon and half marathon through all four Walt Disney World parks, ESPN Wide World of Sports and race track over the course of two days, totally 39.3 magical miles. I ran my first marathon in Disney in January 2011, completed three triathlons the summer of 2012, so I was ready for my next challenge for 2013. What could be more crazy than running not just one, but two marathon events in one weekend? Being a Walt Disney World Moms Panelist, there is no place on earth I’d rather be than Walt Disney World. And combining my two favorite things: Disney and running? Priceless!

I started training in July for this ultimate endurance test. Every weekend I committed to increasing my distance from 5 miles, up to 26.2 and back down again to taper prior to the big event. Training involved running four days a week, weight training two days a week, aqua jogging, yoga for athletes and long runs every Saturday. The toughest part of the Goofy Challenge was the training. Since I wasn’t just training for one event, but two, I partnered two long runs back to back each week to prepare for running on tired legs. Training for an event such as this requires a great commitment. Every weekend, through rain, cold temperatures, fatigue and boredom, I hit the road to prepare for the big day. There were days when I would much prefer to lay in my warm bed, cuddle with my kids and linger with my cup of coffee, but I would make myself lace up and run.

The peak of my training came the week of November 17. My running coach had advised that I run the ThunderRoad Marathon in Charlotte on November 17 as a training run. This means I was running a marathon to prepare for a marathon. This was absolutely the worst experience of my running career. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. I had to travel for work that week to Dallas, Texas and it was a horrible trip. My flight was delayed, I got lost driving to the hotel and again driving to the office. The days were long and draining. I had to switch hotels mid-trip. I was on a long flight the night prior to my marathon. I was mentally and physically exhausted. I shouldn’t have run the marathon at all, but I was stubborn and when I commit to something I feel obligated to complete the task at hand. I prayed to God that morning to get me through. I knew I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge when I arrived, but I forged ahead.

Everything that you SHOULDN’T do during a marathon run I did during this race, including:

  1. I was already physically and mentally exhausted when I started
  2. I didn’t have adequate rest the entire week prior to the race
  3. I tried a new food the morning of the race
  4. I tried new nutrition during the run
  5. I started off too fast

 

At first I felt great and I started off quickly. I was hoping to PR with a new time of under four hours. Given that my previous full marathon time was 5 hours and 7 minutes, this wasn’t a realistic goal. By mile 10 my stomach began to feel a bit sick. I ignored it and pressed on. I saw the half marathon spilt off and was tempted to go off on that track, but I was stubborn and pressed on. That is when things really went downhill. I tried to eat the Cliff Gels that I brought to calm my stomach and give me energy, but that just made me feel more sick. At mile 18 I thew up. The first time. I felt miserable, but at this point there was no turning back. I pressed on. I threw up again at mile 20, 22, 24 and 26. Yes, a marathon is 26.2 miles so I threw up with the finish line in sight. I was miserable. I tried to drink my PowerAde, I tried to eat the gels, I tried to have an orange, but everything made me sick all over again. I thought I was going to pass out. I was fully prepared to go straight to the medical tent, and probably should have, but when I saw my wonderful husband and beautiful kids at the finish line, I instantly felt better. I gave them a huge hug and collapsed on the curb.

At that point I said that I would NEVER run another marathon. But what would I do with the Goofy Challenge?  I was already committed to run in January. I not only was mentally commited, but financially as well. I had paid money for the race, hotel and my entire family to go with me. There was no backing out now.

I didn’t know how I would move forward. After that marathon I was completed depleted: mentally, physically and spiritually. I didn’t know how I could possibly move on. My motivation was gone. I didn’t even feel like running anymore. I felt like I had overeaten my favorite food. I couldn’t stand to think about running, look at anyone run, hear the word “run” and definitely couldn’t stomach a run. I would try to run a few miles and my legs felt like cement. How would I recover from this? My Goofy Challenge was only two months away! How could I possibly complete this challenge when I couldn’t run a mile without feeling like I had sandbags attached to my legs?

Stay tuned to find out. I will post part II of the Goofy Challenge tomorrow to let you know how I overcame this all time low and completed the Goofy Challenge.

In the meantime, do you have any questions about mistakes I made during this run? Have you ever bonked a race? I’d love to hear from you!

Disney Marathon Weekend Schedule and my NEW runDisney Mom blog!

Did you know that Disney’s marathon weekend not only includes the full marathon, but also a Family 5K, kids’ races and half marathon? For those super adventurous types there is even a Goofy’s Challenge which is running the half marathon on Saturday and full marathon on Sunday! This ultimate endurance test will not only give you a huge sense of accomplishment, but you will win THREE medals: the coveted Goofy medal, Donald Duck half marathon medal and Mickey Mouse marathon medal. Read my full article about Disney races on my runDisneymom blog for more information.