Wednesday, March 9, 2016

#DopeyChallenge Recap Part 4 - #WDWMarathon

Finally - the last race of my Dopey Challenge weekend recap.  I know this was two months ago and that I just returned from yet another awesome race weekend a few weeks ago but the truth is I've been working on this post for awhile.  This race was full of emotions for me and I wanted to give this post justice so I've taken my time to make sure I can put into words just how incredible this day was.  So this post might get a tad long - #sorrynotsorry.

Spoiler alert - remember how I said I was really hoping for a good time for this race?  Well I got the PR I was hoping for. Blew away my previous full PR at that.  But it took a lot of work to get me there.

So, here we are at early wake up #4.  I had the foresight to get in bed earlier Saturday night than the rest of the weekend, which was easy considering Suzanne and I skipped park time Saturday and spent some time relaxing at Senses before dinner at Tutto Italia with the rest of the Broads.  I went into Dopey weekend with one major goal - to PR the marathon.  But discussions at dinner Saturday had me wondering if this goal was unrealistic given the miles we had already put in that weekend.  So before I went to bed I prayed that I would wake up Sunday and be at peace with however it went.

And when I woke up Sunday morning - that's exactly how I felt.  I was ready and felt very relaxed as we headed into our second morning at race retreat.

Ready for the final leg of the Dopey Challenge

No pics with the Pinocchio crew this time - just ate my bagel and stayed off my feet as long as possible.  We knew going into this race that the Broads would be splitting up with different race plans, but my plan was to stick with Suzanne til the end.  We were Dopey partners in crime, after all.  We headed to corrals and I knew I needed one more potty stop but lines were insane that morning so Suzanne and I decided we would get started and then make a pit stop.

And it didn't take us long.  Like maybe a mile - LOL.  So after our quick potty stop we were back on the road.  We were tired from 4 days of 2am wake-up calls but otherwise we felt good.  We decided to stick with our 3:1 intervals since that had worked for us so far that weekend.

It wasn't until mile 11 that our plan unraveled slightly.  We had a banana stop right outside the entrance to Animal Kingdom and I told Suzanne I was gonna take a potty stop inside the park near Expedition Everest.  When I came out though I could tell Suzanne wasn't feeling too swift.  The banana had not set well with her, and she started talking about me going on without her.

This crushed me - I had told her I wasn't leaving her but by the mile 13 water stop she needed to pit stop.  Our friend Lisa was volunteering there and she had some supplies and Suzanne once again urged me to go while she tried to settle her stomach.  You see, Suzanne knew I had my heart set on a certain time for this race and I cannot even tell you how much it meant for her to push me on so I could reach my goal.  I made sure she was ok with Lisa then turned to keep going.  I had no music or anything, so it was going to be me and the pavement for 13 more miles.


I knew Bonnie was waiting right outside the Animal Kingdom entrance and it was so, so great to see her right then!!  I still felt bad about leaving Suzanne but Bonnie was so encouraging and told me to go crush my goal time!  So after some BioFreeze to the knees I grabbed an Uncrustable for the road and got back at it.

Pic courtesy of Bonnie
I was hoping that just adrenaline plus the joy of running at Disney plus the distraction of looking for my friends would keep my mind occupied for the second half of the race.  Bonnie had told me that Wendy was up ahead of me so as I headed onto Osceola Parkway towards ESPN Wide World of Sports I made it a mission to find her.  Luckily it didn't take long, as I found her climbing the overpass at mile 15.  We exchanged some quick words and encouragement before we separated.

The road to ESPN I spent counting to 3 (Suzanne's watch had been set with the intervals do I had to count them myself after we split) and watching for my other friends as people were coming out of ESPN.    The winding through WWOS did not seem near as bad as it had the previous two times I had run the course.  We got another banana at mile 18 and since I had nibbled on my sandwich for about two miles I wasn't quite ready for fuel yet.  Then I remembered that there would be a photog inside Champion Stadium and the idea for an epic photo hit me.

Disclaimer:  I am waiting on a coupon code to purchase this pic so these screen shots will have to do for now...

Hey - I just met you, and this is crazy.  But here's my number - so call me, maybe?

I think that is one of my all time favorite race pics.

Leaving Champion Stadium I was headed towards the hike out of ESPN at mile 20.  I started looking out for my Broads again and hit the jackpot as I saw Amy, April, Shannon, and Tania all together on their way in to WWOS!!  Seeing them really got the adrenaline flowing - especially knowing I had a 10K left and I was feeling great.

I hit Hollywood Studios and the park was open and full of spectators.  And they were all cheering for every runner - the rush is just indescribable!  But perhaps even more exciting to me as I excited the Studios headed to the Boardwalk was knowing that Bonnie was waiting for us outside of the Beach Club.  So I turned on my phone to let her know I was headed her way and my phone blew.up!  So many notifications and texts from my friends and family cheering me from home - y'all, I just can't.  

But the tears really started flowing when I saw Bonnie - and she was holding a sign with words from Fight Song, which we had all sang in the car the night before.  She told me I was doing great and asked what I needed - and at that point, I just wanted a (sweaty) hug, which she happily gave before I took off for the International Gateway.


My local LiveFit friend Angela had been surprised by her husband and daughter showing up Saturday to cheer for the final leg of the Dopey journey, and he had messaged me that they were right outside the Mexico pavilion.  So as I approach I start scanning the crowds and found them right as I was about to make the turn towards the front of the park.  He even caught this hilarious video:

We headed out the front of Epcot and passed by the Hallelujah chorus before turning towards the finish line.  And at this point - I had no doubt that PR was mine.

5 hours and 24 minutes after crossing the starting line, I completed the Dopey Challenge with a 45 minute PR.  

Tears flowed.  My phone blew up again with texts and messages (including one from Mr. SS that really made me cry) and I remember getting my marathon medal but not much after that until I hit the challenge tent to receive my Goofy and Dopey medals.  I know that poor girl thought I had lost my ever loving mind I was crying so hard but I was too happy to care.

I made my way to race retreat and got some food and waited on Suzanne.  Luckily I got to see her finish from the live finish line broadcast and when she joined me in race retreat the tears were flowing and the hugs were plentiful.


You know that feeling you get when you set a goal and you achieve it??  It embraces you like a warm, fuzzy blanket and gives you #allthefeels.  To this day I still feel that warm feeling as I look at my medal on the wall.  I truly believe you can do anything you put your mind to.  The Dopey Challenge was by far the hardest thing I have ever done!  And you know what???

I can't wait to do it again 😊

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Frozen Peanut Butter Cups

I have THE biggest sweet tooth of anyone I have ever met.  I'm the girl that always asks to see the dessert menu at restaurants - it is just ingrained in me to have something sweet after dinner.  And lunch.  And in the afternoon... You get the drift.  Along my weight loss journey I have found a few tricks on how to enjoy something sweet without sacrificing calories.  And as promised on my Facebook page, here is the recipe for one of those!

Frozen Peanut Butter Cups

8oz Fat Free Whipped Topping
1/2 cup powdered peanut butter (you can use real peanut butter but it will alter the calorie count so keep that in mind)
2 Tbsp chocolate syrup

1.  Mix whipped topping with powdered peanut butter.  Distribute evenly into muffin pan filled with liners.  I usually get about 10.
2.  Drizzle chocolate syrup on top.
3.  Place in freezer for 6-8 hours.
4.  Enjoy!

If you, like me, think that chocolate and peanut butter were born to be together, then you will love these!

Monday, February 1, 2016

#DopeyChallenge Recap Part 3 - #WDWHalf

Saturday morning - yet another 2am wake up call.  At this point my body is throwing a one finger salute to my alarm clock.  We had wound down our evening at Disney's Hollywood Studios on Friday night and grabbed dinner at our resort's quick service so we were in bed earlier than the previous two nights but my body was still struggling Saturday morning.  But the weather was promising to be fabulous for a 13.1 mile stroll to Magic Kingdom and back, so off Bonnie, Suzanne, and I went (the rest of the Broads would be cheering the half and saving their legs for the full on Sunday). That plus we had race retreat to look forward to!

Anger, Disgust, and Joy ready to run!

We got to race retreat with plenty of time to fully enjoy the perks for the extra price we paid, which included a rare photo op with all of the crew from Pinocchio!

Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, and Gepetto all to wish us good luck!

And the bad guys too - I have never seen Stromboli in the parks!  Had to have a pic with them even though with him, Honest John, and Gideon I was a tad creeped out...

After my pre-race bagel with peanut butter, a second cup of coffee, and a stop in the private porta potties, we were off to corral I!

Plan for today??  Meh not real sure.  Stop if we want.  Have fun.  Don't be on our feet too long.  Got it.

We ran into Lisa in the corral as we were waiting! 

Crappy pic but it's the best I can do at 5am in the dark...

Next thing we knew it was our turn, and we were off!  I really do love this course.  It does have a few congested areas but who doesn't love running through the Magic Kingdom?!?!  We didn't stop for any characters en route to the MK but it's almost mandatory to take a pic in front of Cinderella's castle, especially when the Christmas lights are still on.

I had to take a quick potty stop in Tomorrowland so I missed the Buzz Lightyear photo - whomp whomp.  And I think the previous two days were really starting to get to us, because as we were leaving the MK headed back to Epcot we were really just looking forward to being done, so we did not make any more stops until we found the Broads at mile 12.  Boy, seeing them was just the spirit lift we needed!!!

With a little over a mile left we decided to make the most of it and did make two final pic stops - first with Scrooge McDuck, whom I have never seen in the parks!

Pic courtesy of Suzanne

And second - an obligatory Spaceship Earth selfie!

Almost 13 miles later and we're still smiling!

We finished with a very respectable 2:49.  After refueling our tanks at race retreat, we headed back to the resort.  Suzanne and I had an afternoon date planned at Senses to get our legs ready for the final race of the weekend!!

22.4 down, 26.2 to go!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

#DopeyChallenge Recap Part 2 - #WDW10K

Friday morning was another hard wake up for the Walt Disney World 10K.  On Thursday after the 5K Suzanne and I enjoyed a cinnamon roll the size of our heads at Gaston's Tavern and a Starbucks (of course) at Magic Kingdom and rode a few of our favorite rides before meeting some friends for afternoon tea at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa (this was a neat experience and will get its own post!).  Afterwards we headed over to settle into our home away from home for the weekend and rushed to Disney Springs to meet Bonnie at the new Boathouse restaurant, which was super yummy. Unfortunately we were up later than we wanted to be so when the alarms started going off at 2am, we were a hard sell...

But, luckily the Minnie medal drives a hard bargain so Suzanne, Bonnie and I dragged ourselves out the door to catch the bus back to Epcot.

We are satisfied with our care - but not our wake up time...

Did I mention it was raining that morning??  It was really the only day we had significant rain the whole trip and thankfully I was prepared with a tossable poncho and my mylar from the day before.  We huddled in corral to try to stay warm and dry before our corral C start and as we made our way to the starting line we noticed the rain had stopped!  And since we were oh so cute in our Big Hero 6 outfits and we wanted everyone to see them, we ditched our rain gear right before we crossed the starting line.  Only to have the rain pick back up a few minutes later and continue for the rest of the race - whomp whomp.

We didn't really have a game plan for this race either and I was hoping to kinda take it easy and have fun much like the day before with some character stops.  Needless to say most of the photo op characters had retreated to stay dry by the time we got to them so we did not get any character pics the whole race.  We did however create our own photo ops in Epcot and along the Boardwalk, which we walked entirely due to slippery conditions.

Mandatory World Showcase selfie with Spaceship Earth in the background

What do you mean you're not open?!?!  We're hungry!!!

We're soaking wet but still all smiles!

The three of us crossed the finish together an hour and 23 minutes later.  We were wet, cold, and hungry so we collected our medals and headed to the bus.

Sadly to say this was my least favorite race of the weekend - but only because I really hate being cold and wet.  I really liked the course and the company but Mother Nature kinda ruined it for me.  But I wasn't going to let her ruin my weekend!  The biggest part of our Dopey adventure was still to come!

9.3 down, 39.3 to go!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

#DopeyChallenge Recap Part 1 - #WDW5K

After a LATE night at Disney's Hollywood Studios Wednesday night (lesson to be learned from that), my Dopey partner-in-crime Suzanne and I schlepped from our room at Bay Lake Tower to catch the bus for the Walt Disney World 5K.  Being that this race had the later 6am start compared to the remaining races of the weekend and the fact that there was no race retreat before and we didn't really care to stand around on our feet for an hour before the race, we opted not to attempt to catch the first bus to enjoy a few more minutes of shut eye.  By the time we got to the pre-race area we had time for a quick potty stop before we headed to corral C.  It was a tad chilly that morning but thankfully our roomie for the night Lisa had a spare blanket that I wore up until we crossed the starting line.

We hadn't really discussed a specific game plan for this race other than we wanted to enjoy it but not be on our feet too long.  The first characters we came to outside of Epcot were Chip and Dale, who would have made a great pic except for the fact that they were in the dark :(. So onwards we went into Epcot, entering the World Showcase in between the Mexico and Norway pavilions.  It was pretty crowded and both of us were feeling pretty good with our pace so we ended up not taking any walk breaks, and that worked out just fine.  Timon was up next but his line was pretty long so we passed him up but couldn't skip over Bolt, who was right outside the American Adventure pavilion!

The Festival of Fantasy Lost Boys inspired our 5K outfits!

I absolutely LOVE running through the World Showcase before sunrise!  We also stopped at the Italy pavilion to take a pic.

We found Marie in the France pavilion but opted to skip her since we had seen her before.  We did however stop on the bridge towards the England pavilion for a selfie!

Still all smiles!  And a tad sweaty too - needless to say we had warmed up quite a bit.

As we headed back towards the front of the park to the finish line we did pass by a photo op with Stitch in front of The Land but couldn't resist another pic in front of Spaceship Earth.

We crossed the finish line about 46 minutes after we started.  I was very pleased with how we did!  We collected our Pluto medallions and headed for the bus - we had a date with humongous cinnamon rolls from Gaston's Tavern!!!

3.1 down, 45.5 to go!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thoughts After My Last Long Dopey Training Run

Today I completed my last long #DopeyChallenge training run.  It's hard to believe that this time next week I will be in Orlando, getting ready to tackle my biggest running adventure to date.

Thanks to Facebook I can revisit how I was feeling on this day last year preparing for the #GoofyChallenge and the calm I feel compared to last year is almost scary.  I feel like I could board a plane today and start running tomorrow - a complete 180 from the fear and self doubt I had last year while trying to train and recovering from an "intense stress reaction" in my left shin.  But then I think about the vow I made to myself when I registered for the Dopey Challenge back in April and it just reaffirms my confidence.  Everything I said I wanted to do different this time around - I did.

I vowed to run no more than 3 days a week so that I wouldn't get injured.  I worked with Krissy again this year and gave her my awkward and sometimes cumbersome work/life schedule and she produced a training schedule that I could stick with!

I vowed to cross-train on my non-running days to build my cardiovascular endurance.  Thanks to LiveFit I have been cycling, bootcamping, and weight lifting (amongst other fun things!) on my non-running days.  If I say it once I will say it 1000 times - cross-training has saved me from injury this training cycle.  I committed to those classes just as I committed to my training runs and I can certainly tell a big difference.

I vowed to lose 25lb before marathon weekend.  This is probably the place I struggled the most; it's no big secret that I've had a weight issue in the past.  When I looked at pics from marathon weekend 2015 (and maybe even more notably, Princess Half weekend), I knew I needed to make a change.  I began logging food in My Fitness Pal again and sticking to my calorie allotment.  It hasn't always been easy but I'm very happy to say that I have lost exactly 25lb to date - something I know my joints are very thankful for.

That last part was pretty out of my comfort zone, but you all also know that I like to keep it real.  So there you go.  

I'm feeling in a MUCH better place this year as opposed to last year.  One of the big reasons I have focused so much on doing it right this time was not only because I wanted to finally go into a marathon fully trained, but because I'd like to see what sort of time I can pull off when I am fully trained.  That's right - I'm aiming for a HUGE full marathon PR next weekend.  Hopefully third time's a charm!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Celebrating Marathon Weekend 2016

Hello internet friends - I know, it's been awhile.

I am not going to make any excuses about why the blog has been so quiet.  Life happens, and I'm sure you all understand that.  I told myself that after the holidays l would give some attention back to the blog, since it's something I really enjoy.

So here you go!  And I've got a real treat for you on today's post - a giveaway!!

You see, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is quickly approaching - only 9 days away!  As you may recall I am going out to conquer the Dopey Challenge that weekend, and I wouldn't dream of doing it with anyone other than my DisBroads.  We will all be there next weekend and although we are running different events, we will be represented at every race - I am so proud of my girls!!  And we are VERY excited - who wouldn't be, it IS Disney after all!  And to celebrate the upcoming weekend we are hosting a giveaway!

The prize includes this Mickey Mouse runDisney sling backpack and 26.2 magnet, along with a runDisney ballcap and tote bag!  Instructions included in the Rafflecopter below.  The nitty gritty:  Giveaway ends January 1, 2016 at 12am MT.  Open to US and Canadian residents only.  Winner will be notified via email and will have two days to respond or they forfeit and another winner will be selected.

Good luck and hope to see you next weekend!!