La's really Dopey Weekend

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La
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La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby La » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:56 pm

Whose idea was this, anyway? Oh yeah, mine. :roll:

Stats:

5K 27:17 14/287
10K 58:19 23/287
Half 2:18:11 38/287
Marathon 4:46:06 43/287
Total: 8:29:53 33/287*

*That’s the number of women in the 50-54 AG who were running the Dopey. I didn’t compare my times to people who were running single races or the Goofy as it’s not a fair comparison.

Links to IMR data & maps:

5K laps http://www.itsmyrun.com/laps.php?id=72350
Map: http://www.itsmyrun.com/mapp.php?id=72350

10K laps: http://www.itsmyrun.com/laps.php?id=72351
Map: http://www.itsmyrun.com/mapp.php?id=72351

Half laps: http://www.itsmyrun.com/laps.php?id=72352
Map: http://www.itsmyrun.com/mapp.php?id=72352

Marathon laps: http://www.itsmyrun.com/laps.php?id=72353
Map: http://www.itsmyrun.com/mapp.php?id=72353

Training:

Anyone who has followed my journal knows that I struggled a lot with my training this fall. Even though I took a good 3-4 weeks to recover after the Toad 50K, I really wasn’t motivated to train for a marathon (nevermind four races). Add to that the unseasonably cold and snowy November/December we had, and running was not something that was high on my list of things I wanted to spend my time doing. On the up-side, I made it through this training cycle uninjured (other than chronic sciatic nerve pain, but that hurt more when I wasn’t running than when I was).

Travel:

I think by now everyone knows about the travel woes across the eastern part of North America last week. Luckily for us, we were leaving a day later than when most of the chaos and shutdowns were occurring, but there were still residual delays. Our flight was at 9:30 and we got to the airport in plenty of time, but between the time that I printed my boarding pass and luggage tag and my friends did, our 9:30 flight had been “cancelled” and re-booked for 10:30 with a different flight number. All the boarding passes had to be re-issued at the gate, and that caused us to be late boarding and departing. I think we finally left the gate at 11:10AM. The flight was uneventful, all our luggage arrived, and we got our rental car and to the hotel without issue. In the scheme of things, it was merely an inconvenience.

Races:

5K race: 27:17 (10 seconds slower than my PB from the BAA 5K in 2011)
14th of 287 in my AG

Race morning came very early. Since I’m pretty low-maintenance in the morning (especially for a 5K) and I’d prepped everything the night before, I was fine to get up at 4:10AM for a 4:30AM departure from our hotel, for a 6:15AM race start.

Weather was mild and muggy, with a threat of rain (which held off until after the race was over), but since it had rained overnight, the ground was a bit slick in places. I had my trusty plastic garbage bag to keep me warm pre-race. I think I was in my corral for about 40 minutes before the race started.

I went into this race planning on “racing” it, knowing that my current PB was quite soft and not reflective of what I think I’m capable of running. I was placed in Corral B (I think E was the last corral). Each corral went off at 2-min intervals, but I hadn’t seeded myself very well in the corral, so I was barely jogging once I crossed the start mat. It was like that for the first kilometer, so when I saw my first split was 6:00, I knew a PB was unlikely that day. I didn’t slack off, though, and ran the next 3K at 5:12/km (final km was 5:16), which are my Garmin splits, not necessarily matched up with the course markers. My total distance came in at 5.08K.

The walk through the chute was quite long and slow as most of us had to get our 5K Dopey wristbands. My friend Dave, who finished much later than I did since he was in Corral D, said that he waited a really long time to get his.
Image

10K race: 58:19 (almost 10min slower than my PB from TYS10K in April 2013)
23rd of 287 in my AG
[Garmin: 10.19K]

Another early wake-up call (4AM) and left the hotel at 4:20AM. Felt like groundhog day as it was a repeat of the previous day. It was very warm and muggy: 19C and 100% humidity at 5AM. Thankfully, the race was over before the sun came up.

I seeded myself much better this time and was very close to the start of my wave in Corral B. There was a problem with the start after Corral A went off, so we were 8 minutes behind gun time. My plan for this race was to go med-hard, but not in any way going for a PB since my sub-50 10K was on a downhill course that I’d trained for specifically. But I didn’t want to phone it in, either, with my goal being to run at my 1/2M race pace (5:30-5:40). My first two kilometers were slow due to congestion (though not as bad as the day before), but due to the heat I was running more like a 5:40-5:45 pace most of the way. Here’s where all that treadmill and indoor running paid off! It was very uncomfortable to run in that kind of mugginess. I didn’t really feel any discomfort or heaviness in my legs from the previous day’s race.

They improved the logistics for handing out the 10K wristbands from the previous day, so the line-up after the race moved quickly.
Image

Half-marathon race: 2:18:11 (10 minutes slower than my PB from Ottawa Half in May 2013)
8th of 287 in my AG
[Garmin: 21.42K]

The logistics for this race were much more complicated due to double the number of runners (20,000) than the previous two days. As a result, we decided to leave a bit earlier (4:15), but I actually woke up before my alarm and was out of bed at 3:50AM. I was really, really groggy this morning as the early wake-ups were finally taking their toll. I’d made a poor food choice the night before and paid for it a bit that morning, but thankfully I managed to get everything out of my system before the race.
Image

Getting to the corrals was a slow march with all those people. I got misdirected and had to back-track since my corral was on the opposite side of the median. It didn’t feel as warm as the day before, but it was still quite muggy. I was in Corral I (last corral was P), which meant that my wave didn’t cross the starting line until 25 minutes after the first wheelchair athletes went off. It was congested at the start, but at least it was moving. My plan for this race was to just take it easy and save myself for the marathon. I did feel a bit of heaviness in my legs from the previous two races, but that went away fairly quickly.

The half-marathon route isn’t that exciting as there is a lot of running in between the two parks (Epcot & Magic Kingdom), and not much running within the parks themselves. We didn’t actually see attractions in the Magic Kingdom until about 8.5K, and we exited the park again just before 10K. The camber of the road was a challenge in places, especially the on/off ramps. I hadn’t checked where the water stations would be (most big US races are every mile, but these weren’t), so fueling plan was a bit haphazard. I think I took in at least 3 gels, maybe 4. I walked most of the water stations. We re-entered Epcot around 20K and ran the final 1.1K in that park.

Thank goodness the sun never came out (daylight came at about the 11K point in the race) because it was warm and muggy, especially near the end.

Same drill post race: medal, water, wristband, food, exit. I was hobbling a bit more after this one, but appreciated the walk back to the car.
Image

We went out for dinner a bit later than I really wanted to go and was a little cranky due to low blood sugar and a grumbling tummy, but in the end I got a decent meal and was in bed by 8:30 with the lights out at 9PM.

Marathon race: 4:46:06 (12 minutes slower than my PB from London Marathon in April 2012)
43rd of 287 in my AG
[Garmin: 43.01K]

Same morning drill as the previous three days (yawn). It was easier getting up, though, because I knew it was the last day. The traffic into the park was far worse than any other day and we were a bit worried about the time. I don’t think we got the car parked until just after 5AM (though getting there late meant we were in one of the closer lots). In the gridlock leading into the park, we did a “Chinese Fire Drill” and Leo (who was driving) switched spots with Dave (who took over at the wheel), so that Leo could get into the back and prep all his gear in case we had to make a mad dash to the corrals. I wasn’t too worried for myself since I knew my corral wouldn’t leave until closer to 6AM, but Leo was in Corral B, so he needed to get there ASAP. At least this time I knew where to get into my corral, so I didn’t waste any time. I also managed to weasel my way up to the very front of my corral, so there were only 2-3 rows of people ahead of me (and it took me about 10 seconds to cross the mat once the fireworks went off).
Image

The first 8 miles of the course were identical to the half marathon the day before, but this time I did stop to take some photos in the Magic Kingdom.
Image

I still planned to take it easy and walk all the water stations. After mile 8, we took a detour into the Disney Speedway. That was pretty cool as we ran ¾ of the way around the oval, and I took the opportunity to run up the banked curves so that I could run back down them. :lol: Weird that nobody else had the same idea. :? There were tons of cars on display, both new and vintage, including #53, Herbie the Love Bug!
Image

We had another long slog on boring roads until we hit the entrance to Animal Kingdom around 20K. I’d never been to this park before. There were some sheep and goats there to greet us and they even had race bibs on. :lol: I saw a couple of chimps in a tree, too. Shortly after leaving the park we hit the half-way point. I was at 2:22 for the half, which was 4 minutes slower than my half time the day before. Considering how much I stopped to take photos and video along the way, I wasn’t unhappy with that. I’d also spotted the 4:45 pace bunny and was trying to stay away from her because she had a fairly large group with her.

Back onto park-connector roads again (yawn). When we hit the 16 mile marker I could see people coming back on the other side of the road. I turned to see what their mile marker was and it was 21, so we still had a way to go before we’d be coming back that way. The sun had come up and was shining, but it was much cooler and there was a breeze blowing, so it was actually pretty nice for running. At 28K we made the turn into the Wide World of Sports complex (where the race expo had been the previous three days). The BEST aid station came up around 28K with fresh, clean, cold face cloths! I kept mine until mile 23! It was perfect! In this park we ran about ¾ of the way around the rubberized track, then past all the practice fields (soccer and baseball), the we ran into the full-size baseball stadium where the Braves hold spring training (at this point I caught up to the 4:45 pacer again, and she was annoyingly yelling encouragement to her followers - time to turn up the iPod!). We entered the stadium through the center field fence, then did a lap around the perimeter (not the infield, sadly) with the announcer and crowd cheering us on, and video up on the jumbotron. I loved this part.
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Back out to the highway again. I was looking for Dave since we were right next to the oncoming runners at this point. I saw the 5:30 pacer, but no sight of Dave. Lots more running on roads between parks. At 37K we entered Hollywood Studios. There was a fair number of spectators here, though I don’t remember much about the park itself, except for how one street looked like downtown NYC. Only 2K in this park, then back out onto the road. Next up was the lagoon and the boardwalk around the lake in the Disney resort area attached to Epcot. The 23 Mile marker was somewhat hidden behind a truck, but I was never so glad to see it. That said, the final 5K felt like the longest 5K I’ve ever run! When is this going to be over?? I was walking more frequently now – not really pain, just overall muscle fatigue and stiffness. I had to keep reminding myself that it hurts just as much to walk as it does to run, so keep running and get the hurt over sooner. Thankfully, the route through Epcot was fairly straight, with no detours or extra out-and-back sections. I’d completely lost the 4:45 pace bunny by this point, so I had no idea where I was relative to her.

I crossed the mat, stopped my Garmin (I’d heard it beep to mark 43K just as I was crossing), and saw that my time was 4:46. That meant pretty even first/second half spits (2:22 & 2:24). Not my fastest marathon, but not my slowest, either. In fact, I was only 12 minutes slower than my PB. My ego wanted to make sure that I finished faster than any of my Ironman marathons (best was 6:01), as well as faster than my very first marathon (4:55). Thankfully, I was able to do that.

I got a space blanket (not that I really needed it, but you never know), my Mickey medal, and then shuffled to the Goofy/Dopey area for a final check of my wristbands and to get my Goofy and Dopey medals. I got a little choked up when it was all over, but managed to keep it together as crying seems to lead to asthma symptoms and I wanted to avoid that.

I slowly walked back to the car where I found Leo napping (he’d finished about 90 minutes before I did). He went back to look for Dave, but I didn’t have the energy, so I just stayed in the car.
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Finally Dave arrived (since he was in Corral M and finished in over 6 hours, we had a long wait for him). We cracked open a celebratory beer and took a few photos.
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Final thoughts:

Two questions everyone is asking:

1) Would you do it again? Likely, not. The early race starts are a killer, the training was very lonely, and it’s a big financial commitment made nine months in advance.

2) What’s next? Nothing! Rest! Running for fun/pleasure. I’m really not motivated to take on any more big race goals for the foreseeable future. Never say never, but I just don’t have anything on my radar screen any time soon.

And another question people sometimes ask: Would you recommend the event? Yes. Just as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into and it sounds like the kind of thing you’d like to do. For me, it’s sort of like running NYC – I think everyone should do it once, but it’s not the kind of race I want to go back and do year after year. If you’re a big Disney fan, then I could see the appeal of going back multiple times, but I’m just not that into it. I’d certainly recommend any of the races individually as they are very well organized events.

Overall, I feel a good sense of accomplishment, doing something that very few runners (and even fewer people) have ever done. That feeling doesn’t last for long, though. I'm looking forward to a little down time now. :)
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Thanks to everyone for all your support!
Last edited by La on Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby purdy65 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:12 pm

Fantastic report La! I think you had 4 very respectable races! Congrats!
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby HCcD » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:38 pm

Congratulations, on an awesome week (end) of racing, La ...

Felt so priviledged, eh, in that only the Dopey's got an official timed result!!!

That was quitena long 3k inside of WWoS, eh ?

As for me, I would like to go back and do it again, but with a better race strategy, knowing what I know now ... then again, any excuse to head south in the first week of January .. :p
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Jwolf » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:02 pm

Quite an accomplishment, Lesley. :) Congratulations.
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Ken B » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:36 pm

Wow! Great report and superb results, Lesley!! Congratulations!!!

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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:17 pm

Thanks for the pics. Great report. So cool your friends were with you.
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby IronColl » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:40 pm

Well done Lesley! Love all the pictures too.
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby barebuns1 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:33 pm

Great photos and great race report. Loved the medals. :)
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby RobW » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:37 pm

To only be 12 minutes off your marathon PB is quite impressive in a Dopey. Congrats!

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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby marymac442 » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:49 pm

Great races, I'm amazed your race bib survived all four races, mine usually look like used tissue paper by the end of one marathon.
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Marg » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:20 am

Fantastic report and a great achievement! way to go La 8)
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby RA. » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:44 am

Great report and pics, La! Enjoy your time away from racing now!
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby La » Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:46 am

marymac442 wrote:Great races, I'm amazed your race bib survived all four races, mine usually look like used tissue paper by the end of one marathon.

We got two bibs - one for the 5/10 and one for the Half & Marathon.
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby grimskot » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:42 am

Congratulations! Great job and great report :)
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Habs4ever » Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:17 am

I loved reading your report. Fantastic races and reports. Well done.
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby bruyere » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:24 pm

Great stuff!! :)

Sheesh, I remember, back in 2006 or 2007, when Dave and I (and Barbara? Doonst?) did the back-to-back half marathons in Toronto and Dundas, and it seemed like such a big thing... Whoa... 2 races in 2 days, look at me! :lol:

Impressive running and it just seems like a fun time, overall. Have fun with the free time!
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Hammie » Sat Jan 18, 2014 3:26 pm

Congrats-the heat and humidity sound challenging to say the least! Great times for all of those races & sounds like you had fun too!
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby CAW » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:42 pm

You are my hero!
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Sandra » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:34 pm

It was a pleasure reading your reports with the pictures added in between. Congratulations on being Dopey!
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Mark.AU » Sat Jan 18, 2014 6:01 pm

What a fantastic finale to a fantastic year Lesley. You should be, and I hope you are very proud of the year you put together to celebrate 50. You've earned the take-it-as-it-comes plan for 2014 for sure!
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Engmomma » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:39 pm

Super 8)
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Tori » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:41 pm

Congrats on your races! It was a warm one down there and you looked so great in all your pictures.

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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Jogger Barbie » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:05 pm

Congrats again! I loved reading your report and admire your ability to convey a lot of information with relatively few words. Hope you're enjoying your well-earned break. :)
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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby Robinandamelia » Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:19 pm

Congratulations, you did great! That's a tough event I'm sure. Love the race report and those are great photos. You look terrific. Nicely done, and congrats again.

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Re: La's really Dopey Weekend

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:40 pm

the logistics of this feat alone are crazy! congratulations - that is some seriously strong running you put down over four days!
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