Thursday, January 31, 2008

100+ Miles and Takin' it to the Streets

It has been a busy week.

I feel like it has been non-stop since Saturday.

I was going to meet Cheryl and her friend Alan at the West Orange Trail on Sunday morning for a ten miler. Carrell had a client deadline that he had to meet, so I ended up not being able to make it. Sunday afternoon I ended up with 13 miles on the treadmill.

The days have flown by one after another. I wonder where the time goes.

I carved out some time on Monday, Wednesday and today to get some running done. I ended the month with 103 miles. Any month that I get more than 100 miles in makes me happy. I have a feeling as the second half of the year arrives and I train in earnest for the Goofy Race and Half Challenge I will have some months with well over 100 miles.

Today I ventured outside (Gasp! During the week!) I have a decent hill for a driveway and it's about 1/10 of a mile long. I ran several repeats and then headed out towards Hwy 19. I realized that it was probably not the smartest move at 3:00 PM and the private school around the corner was letting out so there were cars everywhere. I swear the guy in the Volvo wagon was aiming for me...

My Driveway

Since Saturday I have been experiencing stomach cramps when I run. I can't pinpoint what the cause is or what is different from what I have been doing. It hasn't been awful, just uncomfortable. Does anyone out there have any ideas about what may be causing the cramps and any way I can convince them to stay away? I would love to hear about it.

I was pretty sure that I was going to run another 5k this weekend at Universal Studios, but I have changed my mind. I'm still on the fence about the Lady Track Shack 5k but I am headed to San Diego early the next morning and I want to be sure I have a good day with my family before I'm gone for nearly a week.

Last week the PE teacher at my kids'school sent me an email. Each spring the 4th -8th graders particpate in a track challenge at the National Training Center. I have been asked to speak to the 4th and 5th graders on Tuesday morning about running and how to prepare for their challenge in April. On Thurday morning I will be speaking to the 6th - 8th graders. I'm very excited about it. And I have definitely won "cool points" with my kids. Any thoughts on ideas to share there? Bring it on!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Park Avenue 5k :: Race Report


Race Report?


It has been an absolutely crazy week. With little time to for some of my favorite activities, such as running and blogging.

The slowing down this week on the running front was probably a good thing. I ended up at the chiropractor on Tuesday morning. I had a rib head out that was causing me some minor pain in my back. I think a little rest (weather I wanted it or not) was just what I needed.

Last Saturday I decided to register for the Park Avenue 5k. I ran this race in 1999. There were approximately 1,259 finishers that year. There were more than 2,600 finishers this year. In less than ten years the field has more than doubled!

I arrived in Winter Park this morning at about 6:40 AM. I called my friend Cheryl when I got parked and she happened to be walking right toward me. We headed up to the starting area and she picked up her race packet and then got her kids signed up for the kids race after the 5k.

Soon we lined up at the starting line between the 9 minute mile and 10 minute mile signs, just where we should be. I wish it was just that simple for everyone to line up appropriately.

While we were waiting for the race to start, Marathon Chris and her daughter found us and said hello. Chris was nice enough to take a picture. She wished us luck and just a minute later the race officially started.

It took some time to cross over the starting mats. And Thanks to Chris, there is video that shows just how many people were there.

It was shoulder to shoulder for a long time About a quarter I saw a woman ( maybe late fifties, early sixty)take a digger on the brick street. I was on the sidewalk, because there was a little more room to pass the slower peeps. I did see a few people help her up, which was nice of them.

It stayed tight and crowded until after the first mile. But it never truly wasn't crowded. Near the two mile mark, a candidate, whose name I don't remember, for a position I can't recall, was set up on the side of the road with music playing from his bus and he had a nice little cheer station set up. He was also offering donuts to runners. Weird huh?

The crowd, while thinner, was still pretty thick. Cheryl moved ahead and I just couldn't get up to where she was. We had stayed pretty close together for the majority of the race and the last mile we were separated. I just couldn't get past the crowd and Cheryl's lead continued. Ultimately, Cheryl finished 27 seconds ahead of me. She was waiting at the finish line with a bottle of water for me.

My Chip Time: 27:55

I feel pretty good about that time. As I mentioned I ran this race in 1999 with half as many runners. I was 26 years old and my time was 34:36. I have become a much faster runner.

And while this wasn't a PR, it was 29 seconds off my PR, and the second fastest 5k race I have ever run.

After the race Marathon Chris met up with me again. She had her iRiver with her and we recorded a contribution for The Extra Mile Podcast. After eating some fruit I headed home.

One of the most amazing things about running a race, regardless of the distance is the great feeling of accomplishment for the rest of the day. Because first thing in the morning, you did something!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Five Mile Headgame

A five mile run works really well into my Monday through Friday daily routine. I can get it done during my lunch break and have enough time for a quick shower. - Thank goodness I work from home, because no one really knows that I either have my hair in a towel or have a wet head for an hour or so. - We'll keep that our little secret.

And while I'm not currently expereincing any mojo problems, when the lack of mojo does present itself, I can almost always (but not every time) work my way through it.

It goes something like this...

I really should run today.


I change my clothes and get some water.

I get started and before I know it, I have a mile under my belt.

Ugh, still not feeling it.

Mile two is done. Come on Maddy, another half mile and you can stop if you want to.

Okay, now your half way done. Do you really want to quit now?

No, I can go to three miles. I can at least round it out to the next mile.

Two miles to go now. I'm starting to feel this thing.

Whoa, four miles completed. There's only one more to go.

One more mile? That's not far. I can do that.

And before you know it, I've completed five miles and off to the shower I go.

It always makes me feel better when I run and it just that easy (or difficult, depending on the day) to get my miles in.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A New 2008 Challenge

Jamie the Diabetic Runner has created a new challenge for 2008, with two different options. The DR1K which is a challenge to run 1,000 miles in 2008. And the DR5H, a challenge to run 500 miles this year.

I have signed up for the DR1K. And will run another year of the Tinkoff 1000.

This doesn't mean I'm running 2,000 miles this year. I will just be keeping both logos on my sidebar to remind me that I have a goal of at least 1,000 miles for 2008.

Care to join me?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Race Pictures

The jury is still out on if I will actually purchase any pictures from the Disney Half Marathon. After a little "Print Screen" magic, I will share with you some crappy resolution pictures of last Saturday morning and some of my thoughts behind them.

About five miles in on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. How unfortunate it is to sweat in pink. Nasty...

I didn't get a castle picture this year. My timing put me right behind a few groups of camera hogs.

Just past the 12 mile mark. It looks like I am going to fly all the way to finish. I was feeling really good.

And lift off!

Yelling "I love you Pinocchio!".


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Walt Disney World Half Marathon :: Race Report

If you missed the Pre-Race Report, check it out here.

Warning: You may want to get a snack. This is a long one.

I mentioned my pink skort in my pre-race report. It was a recent purchase. I actually received it this week, ran a quick 2 1/2 mile test run and I knew I was in love. I decided that it would be a part of my race attire for Saturday morning.

I have run in the past with my extra fuel belt pouch clipped to my waistband when I have decided to leave my fuel belt at home. With nine water stops planned for the race, I was confident that my fuel belt would be more of a hassle than a necessity. I did want my extra pouch for my room key, a Clif Bar, my new favorite, Clif Shot Blocks. As I crossed the mats at the starting line I felt the pouch fall off. I looked behind me and the 10,000 people running toward me helped me make the decision to say goodbye to my race nutrition and just keep moving.

It seemed that people spread out a little quicker than last year. By the two mile mark there was enough space to move relatively freely. The route was peppered with Marching Bands, a Steel Drum Band and DJ's. Near the 2 1/2 mile mark, the DJ was playing Rick Derringer's Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo. This really made me smile. Not that I'm a huge Rick Derringer fan, however, that's the ringtone when my sister calls (long story behind that one...) It made me feel like she was there cheering for me. I will take the support any way I can and justify as I see fit!

I hit the 5k mat at 31:02. Not bad...

This year there was a slight change to the course that I don't remember from past years. In the Magic Kingdom parking lot, runner were split into two groups and then joined up about a quarter mile later. It was up to each runner to decide which way to go. The choices were "Disco Drive" and "Headbanger Highway". A guy about 50 yards in front of me actually jumped when he realized he was headed toward Disco Drive and headed down Headbanger Highway. I chose Disco Drive and had a quarter mile of Disco Inferno. Burn baby, burn!

The runners were joined again as we approached the Ticket and Transportation Center. There was a lot of crowd support in this area and it's nice to have people cheering! The next landmark was the Contemporary Hotel. Just before we passed the hotel we ran under a bridge that is the channel for the lake. What an engineering marvel that is. Last year I ran on the sidewalk through this part of the course. This year, a security guard was on the sidewalk yelling "Stay off the Sidewalk!". Okay. I stayed on the road.

A few more minutes and we were on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. This is the place with the most energy. The crowd is huge and everyone is cheering. It was great! There were a lot of runners stopping to the side to take pictures of Cinderella's Castle. I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who has never or rarely been to the Magic Kingdom. As an annual passholder on and off since I was fourteen, I realize that while I still find it magical, I'm probably a little jaded to the magic.

We turned toward Tomorrowland and into Fantasyland and right through Cinderella's Castle. We made our way to Frontierland and across the 10k mat. My split: 1:03:08. I was pretty sure that I would not match my time from last year. I remembered being really excited that my 10k split was less than an hour the year before (58:51)

The course crosses the railroad tracks and runners head "backstage". I was looking forward to this, because in the past there were bananas near the water stop. This year, no dice, err bananas. I was getting hungry.

It was nice and breezy on the back road that would lead us past the Grand Floridian Hotel and Spa. A lot of crowd support here. I recognized some people from the Ticket and Transportation Center. It's funny how some strangers stick out in your mind.

This part of the course had the nicest volunteers at the water stop. They were cheering and even reading our names off of our race bibs. I must have been called Madeline 50 times ( I was definitely called Mad-a-line once...) which is sort of funny, because other than my dad, my sister and my boss, no one really calls me that any more.

After the volunteers the most memorable part of this area was being passed by a guy wearing a black Speedo, a red cape, shin guards and a Roman-style helmet. Funny. I remember starting to struggle a bit at this point a year ago. I continued to feel pretty strong. I crossed the 15k mat in 1:35:47. Now I knew for sure that I would not beat my time from last year. My 15k split in 2007 was 1:31:51. A three minute and 36 second difference.

The big difference this year over last is I felt more consist ant for almost the entire race. I felt myself start to struggle just past the 11 mile mark when we began to climb an overpass after running an on-ramp about a mile before. Once I got to top of the overpass, I dug deep because I knew that was just a little more than a mile to go.

We hit the last water stop and then we were inside Future World at EPCOT. We ran to the Seven Seas Lagoon where Geppetto, Pinocchio and Aladdin (not sure how he fit into the picture...) were cheering for us. As I passed, I yelled "I love you Pinocchio". I was starting to feel silly.

I was getting so close. As I ran past the choir (one of my favorite parts of the race) I new there was less than 400 yards to go. And then I saw the finish line! I pushed to get the clock time at less than 2:17. I was close, but finished with a clock time of 2:17:05. Oh well. My chip time was 2:16:22. Three minutes and 34 seconds slower than last year.

I am extremely happy with my time. I ran this race on a much more crowded and challenging course one minute and 22 seconds slower than my first half marathon of the year a mere six days before.

I'm really happy about the consistency. I'm still reflecting on what it all means, but I'm really pleased.

Three years in a row. My Trifecta.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon :: Pre-Race Report

In effort to avoid a huge crowd at the Expo, like Marathon Chris I headed to Disney's Wide World of Sports on Thursday night.

The line for packet pick up wasn't too bad. I was second in line and I quickly had my race number. I was disappointed to see that I was in Corral B. Last year I was in Corral A and I assumed based on my time from last year that I again would be in Corral A. To make sure I was in the right place, I waited in line at Runner Realtions.

The woman who was at "the window" said that there was little she could do for me without proof of time. I tried to explain to her that my 2:13 time from last year led me to believe that I did not need proof this year. Luckily, someone from the local running store who happened to be at the De Leon Springs Half Marathon was working in the adjecent booth. I had spoken to her Sunday morning.

I underdtand that the lady who was helping me was simply following the rules, but I really wanted and felt like I should rightfully be in Corral A. I asked this lady if the woman next to her would vouch for my time in the race on Sunday if she could please move me into Corral A. She agreed and thank goodness, my new friend, said that based on my result from Sunday I could move to Corral A. A sticker was placed on my race number and that was that!

Friday night, after work, my family and I headed out to Walt Disney World. We decided to eat before we got there. Last year we ate at the Pop Century resort, and while the food was okay, it just wasn't what I wanted. We talked about heading South of Disney property to a restaurant on Highway 192. However, we decided to stop at the new Winter Garden Village. We went to Uno's and I decided on the Chicago Classic, which is a deep dish pizza with sausage, sauce and cheese. I have been a big believer in sausage before a race. I don't know if it actually helps or not, but it seems to make me feel pretty good the next day.

We checked into Pop Century around 7:30 PM - there was no line, which was nice. Last year I waited for nearly 45 minutes when we arrived at 5:30 PM.

I was feeling tired, so as soon as we got the room I began getting settled and preparing forthe morning. I got everything laid out and ready to go so it would be a quick process to get out the door in the morning.

I decided that I couldn't keep my eyes open for another minute. My husband took the kids to the arcade at the hotel and they played games and were silly for quite some time. They returned to the room at 10:45 PM and while I had been asleep, it was never a deep sleep. I woke up when they came in and we said our good-nights and I was again asleep.

I had a wake-up call, the room alarm clock and my BlackBerry alarm set for 3:05. The wake-up call came first and I was able to shut the other alarms off before I woke my entire family.

I was out the door at 3:30 AM and walked to the waiting bus that drove us to the EPCOT parking lot / staging area. Even with all of the people there it was a little lonely by myself. I had a trash bag with me which I sat on as I watched a live band play. I wondered if they had been up all night...

I waited in line for the port-a-potty and then headed toward the starting line. When I arrived in the corral area it was 4:53 AM. With still more than an hour to wait, I sat in Corral A on my throw away $4 thermal shirt (I had a pink skort on and I didn't want to get dirty). I met a woman from Tampa and we chatted for about forty minutes to pass the time.

Waiting might possibly be the hardest part of the race.

Race Report to follow

Best Intentions

My Race Report for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon will be posted either later today or tomorrow - It is still being prepared.

This morning my 6 year old daughter and I planned on cheering for my friends who were running the Walt Disney World Marathon. We woke up at 6:00 AM (just as the race was starting)and we headed out the door.

Last night I spoke to Marathon Chris and we decided that the best place to be would be Animal Kingdom. I planned to get to our spot, near the big yellow dinosaur, by 8:15 AM.

We were almost to the Animal Kingdom parking lot, no more than three minutes away, and my daughter threw up. She has a history of getting car sick, but it's been a long long time since it has happened.

Needless to say, we never made it to Animal Kingdom to see the race. We had to turn around and head for home.

At about 8:40 AM I called Chris (how awesome is technology that you can talk to people while they're running!) and let her know that we weren't going to make it, but we were cheering for her (and Marathon Jim) virtually.

Last night my daughter and I put together some posters to show our support.

And with the text, email AND web results all gummed up, we are anxiously awaiting Chris' posts on her and her husband's final result.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Saturday is Almost Here!

All of a sudden, the Disney Half Marathon is almost here. If you want to track me here's click here to sign up. **If you need my last name it's a part of my email address on my profile page** Let me know if you're tracking me. I would love the support!

I've been checking the weather and I have some concerns about the potential rain. The forecast is calling for scattered thunderstorms on Friday and a 30% chance of rain on Saturday with "few showers".

It got me thinking that I may need a "RAIN PLAN" And if I don't, those running on Sunday including Marathon Chris, Leana and Cheryl.

I found the following information on here

Wear a Hat
A hat with a brim can be your best friend during a rainy run. It will keep the rain off your face.

I'm going to bring a hat. I will still wear my pink camouflage bandanna and hope I won't need the hat, but at least I will have it there if I need it.

Dress in Layers
If it's cold and rainy, you may need to wear a couple of layers. The most important layer is the one closest to your body. Make sure it's a technical fabric such as polypropylene or CoolMax, which wick water and sweat away from your skin. Your outer layer should be a wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest for an outer layer. Don't wear a waterproof rain slicker because it will trap moisture and heat.

The forecast is a low of 62 degrees and a high of 77 degrees. Not exactly cold. I am going to scour the stores for a light weight water resistant vest or something. If you know where I can find one, please let me know.

Don't Overdress
This is one the biggest mistakes runners make when heading out for a rainy run. Wearing more layers will not keep you dry. Unless you're running with an umbrella over your head, you will definitely get wet. If you have tons of layers on, you will just be wearing more wet, heavy clothes. Dress for the temperature, as if it were a dry day.

I'm going to get wet if it's raining. I won't overdress. That's not my thing.

Use a Garbage Bag
If you have to wait outside before the start of a race, a big trash bag with armholes cut out can help you stay dry before you. You can take it off and throw it to the side once you get moving.

I am going to bring a few contractor bags with me. One to sit on and one to "wear", should I need it.

I ran four miles today and felt really good. I could have gone father, but I am trying to take it easy this week so I can recover and be ready for Saturday. The plan for the remainder of the week is to take it easy and still get some runs in tomorrow and Thursday.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Oh Yeah... I Went There...

Thanks to all who left comments regarding my quandary about running the De Leon Springs Half Marathon. I appreciate all the support and concern.

In the end, I decided to go for it. I registered early Friday morning and there was no turning back.

My plan was to run a few miles on Friday afternoon, but I ended up getting really busy and it just didn't happen. We were headed to stay at Walt Disney World Friday night and I really needed to get my worked day wrapped up.

On the way to Disney I took a look at my BlackBerry and saw I had a stray email from Shirley. In my reply to her, I mentioned that I was planning on running in De Leon Springs. She replied and said she was also planning on running in De Leon Springs today. It was nice to know that I would see a familiar face in the crowd.

This morning I woke up at 5:00 AM and quickly got ready to head out the door. Thirty minutes later I was in the car and headed to Volusia County.

I was concerned about finding my way. I had a general idea about where I was going, but once I got to Highway 17, I wasn't sure where I needed to go. I have never been to De Leon Springs before. I had good directions, but it was dark. I was able to find my way to packet pick up and the start area with little incident. * I only had to turn around once *. This is one reason I prefer to pick up my race packet early when possible. That way, on race morning I will know exactly where I am going and what I'm looking for. It takes away a lot of the stress.

I had plenty of time to spare. I picked up my race packet and then returned to the warmth of my car. The temperature was hovering at 50 degrees. I had a clear view of the sole ladies' room in my rear view mirror and as a line began to form I waited my turn (I was third). Later the line was much, much longer.

After I twittered, I made my way to start line at 7:45 AM for the 8:00 AM start. I met Lorraine from the Track Shack and chatted with her and her neighbors for a few minutes. Then I heard "Maddy!" from behind me. Shirley was there with her husband Dave. It was nice to finally meet the man behind the camera and Shirley's support crew!

The race started and we headed out on a hard-packed limestone road. We ran past De Leon Springs State Park and continued on. This was an out and back course and quite honestly, there really wasn't a lot to look at. There were fields and trees. It was pleasant enough, but it could have been maddening.

Right around mile three two women behind me were talking as they caught up to me. They didn't pass, but continued to chat and I joined in the conversation as well. The three of us ran together until mile six. At that point, Susan jumped ahead and took an impressive lead. Angie and I continued to run together. This was Angie's second half marathon. Her first half marathon was OUC in December. It was really nice to have someone to talk to. The course only had a few turns and a few of the roads went on and on and on. It really wasn't a big deal. Somewhere around mile eight a freight train rolled past. It was quite a long train and it was a memorable part of the race. I wish I had counted the cars. Like I said, it was a really long train.

The second half seemed to go really quickly and before I knew it, we were at the 12 mile marker. We had just over a mile to go. I was encouraging Angie to keep at it. She was on track for a fantastic PR.

We were back on the limestone road and we had on turn to get to the finish line. I had it in sight. I crossed in 2:15:01.

I feel like I took it pretty easy. I didn't push myself too hard and I will be ready to conquer Disney next Saturday.

I'm so glad I decided to run this race. After OUC I wasn't feeling like a particularly strong runner. The race today really helped boost my confidence. It made me feel more like my old self. And while this wasn't a PR, it was still a great race!

After the race there was a raffle sponsored by Fleet Feet. There were lots of goodies to be won. Fuel Belts, Runner's World Calendars, T-Shirts and Gift Cards. I was excited when my number was called and I won a $20 gift card. I can't wait to go shopping. I'm thinking socks... Yay!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Should I?

The DeLeon Springs Half Marathonis this Sunday. I'm thinking about running it. I really need to decide quickly.

Finishing it is not an issue. The fact that the Disney Half Marathon is a mere six days away is my only concern.

I have run half marathon races with eight days between them. The second race of those two was my half marathon PR. Now, I'm not expecting to PR at Disney, although it's possible I don't see that happening for me. It takes several miles for the crowd to thin out and get into the groove.

The course in DeLeon Springs is reportedly pancake flat, which would be nice.

So, should I?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Looking Forward :: Looking Back

In 2007 I set a goal to run 1,000 miles. I figured that it would be accomplished by the middle of December. I completed those 1,000 miles on December 29th and then added to it the next day for a total of just over 1,010 miles for 2007. Many thanks to Adam for providing the inspiration for a goal to shoot for!

I ran my fair share of races in 2007.

  • Disney World Half Marathon

  • Clearwater Beach Half Marathon

  • Lady Track Shack 5k

  • February
  • Outback Distance Classic 12k

  • March
  • Winter Park Road Race 10k

  • April
  • IOA Corporate 5k

  • May
  • Women Run the World 15k

  • October
  • Nike Women's San Francisco Marathon

  • Phediiidations Worldwide Half (concurrent with marathon)

  • December
  • OUC Half Marathon

  • In 2008 the races will continue. The only race confirmed at this point is the Disney Half Marathon on January 12th. Will there be a full marathon in 2008? That has yet to be determined.

    I plan on working some trail runs into my schedule this year. We have several acres of land and there is an track we ride ATVs on. Everytime I'm back there I think it would be pretty challenging to run that. It's pretty sandy and there are several hills. The theory is that it will make me stronger and maybe, just maybe, faster.

    I am excited to find what 2008 will bring. I am looking forward to every moment of it.