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2015 Racing Schedule

I have to say, my 2015 racing schedule is shaping up much slower than I thought it would. But a big part of that is I keep picking some really expensive races!

Right now I have a great grouping of races, but apparently I must be bored with Connecticut because as of right now, only two of them are actually in this state.

Here’s what’s on the schedule so far:

March 14 – Rock ‘n’ Roll DC

I’m beyond excited to finally be taking on a marathon in a place other than Connecticut or Disney World. Of 8 marathons that I’ve run, they’ve all been in those two places. Having missed out on the Marine Corps Marathon last year, I can’t wait to finally get the chance to run through the nation’s Capital.

March 21 – Savin Rock Marathon

The next week, I’ll be back for another CT-based marathon. The Savin Rock Half Marathon has traditionally been the race to kick off the racing season here in Connecticut. This year, they’ve added a brand new full marathon option. This is the only race is what’s known as the Shoreline Shark series that I haven’t tackled yet, and I’m really happy to be able to take on an inaugural marathon.

This has been one runDisney event that I never thought I would actually do. That is, until runDisney announced that this year would be the last year for it. My wife has wanted to do this race for years, but traveling so far for a 5K just didn’t seem worth it. When runDisney let it be known that the event wouldn’t be going on after this year, I surprised my wife with entries for us to take part in its last running.


Another race I didn’t think I’d be doing this year was the Ragnar Cape Cod relay. Having done it the past two years, I didn’t think I’d be able to get a team together. Then I found an ultra-team that needed another person and before I knew it, I had myself signed up to take on 200 miles of Massachusetts miles with five other people, rather than the usual 12.


While I love the concept of the Ragnar Relay with traveling over 200 miles, the idea of the Ragnar Trail races really intrigues me. 8 runners are on each team rather than the usual 12, and instead of driving 200 miles, runners have a base camp where all runners start from then run through three trails until all runners have finished. It sounds like a great party atmosphere and a more laid-back vibe than the energetic van relay.

September 3-6 - Dumbo Double Dare

West Coast Disney races are always so unique compared to their East Coast counterparts. With this being the 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon, and since my wife and I both took part in the 10th Anniversary of Goofy, we couldn’t say no to making the trek our west to earn my wife’s first Coast to Coast medal and my third.

October 17 - SoNo Half Marathon

In a year of inaugural and anniversary races, I’m excited to be taking part in the inaugural SoNo (South Norwalk) Half Marathon. I just happened across this race thanks to Facebook and it is shaping up to be a really exciting race. The scenery for this course is said to be amazing and the excitement that any inaugural race brings really has this race standing out.

My family had such an amazing time at this race last year that we ended up signing up for this year’s race the day we got back. The course is fantastic, the medals are amazing, the race is a massive event and Cleveland is such a great city to visit. This is the perfect race to end the year with.



What's on your race calendar for 2015??

2015 Disney World Marathon Recap

Sometimes the most amazing things happen when you least expect them. That is exactly what happened to me at the Disney World Marathon. Waking up for the last race of the Dopey Challenge was no easy task. By the fourth day I was drained, since this was now my fifth early morning if you add in our travel day down to Florida.

My body was sore and after dealing with so many cold mornings, I was pretty much ready to be done with this challenge. I wasn’t really sure what to expect as far as how much I’d have to give over the next 26.2 miles, but I knew finishing was the only option. I wanted my medals!

Driving over to the race, we hit the worst traffic we had encountered in four years of driving to the races. Watching the clock, I was starting to get a little nervous about if we’d make it to the race on time. But finally traffic broke and we made it to Epcot and ended up being parked insanely close to the starting line. (Tip: If you drive to the races, try and stay as far to the left as you can when you get into Epcot. It will line you up with a short walk to the starting areas)

I didn’t have a lot of time to spare, so I kissed my wife goodbye and wished her luck as she went off to meet her friends before taking off on her first marathon.

I made it to my corral with very little time to spare before the race started off. I caught a glimpse of the 3:25 pace group in front of me and figured that would be the last I’d see of them. The past times I’ve run the Disney World Marathon had all been part of challenges, and the fastest time I had was 4:01 and that was four years ago!


It was with great surprise that as I came by the water stop before the Contemporary Resort that I found myself engulfed in the 3:25 pace group. Normally I was used to pace groups engulfing me as they passed me by, not because I caught up to them.

But I figured it was a fluke as I came through the Magic Kingdom. As I hit mile 8 and entered the Disney World Speedway, I was still hanging in with them. It didn’t make sense, I felt really good running. I kept telling myself that there was no way I could hang in with them for another 18 miles, but if I could stay with them until mile 10, I’d be thrilled.

Somewhere around the mile 11 mark, bananas were being passed out to runners and I made the huge mistake of grabbing one. I remembered the previous year when I came to mile 18 so hungry that I could have probably eaten one of my shoes, so I didn’t want to end up with that problem again. Running and eating a banana is really really tough, and I ended up choking on the not-quite-ripe enough fruit. Blah!

Inside Animal Kingdom is where I finally separated from the 3:25 pace group, but oddly enough I hit the halfway point at a pace that gave me an anticipated finish time of 3:24. In my head, and more importantly in my legs, keeping that pace seemed impossible.

I took my first walking break just after I hit the mile 14 marker. I popped off my hydration pack to grab some gummy bears that I had brought with me. The distance between Animal Kingdom and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports felt like it would take forever to cover. As I walked and ate, I figured it would only be a matter of moments before the next pace group rushed past me.

I strapped my pack back on and started running again. I thought about switching to a run/walk but I knew that the stopping and starting would lead to me just wanting to walk.

When Disney changed the full marathon course three years ago, the addition of running through Wide World of Sports was probably one of my least favorite changes. It’s such a lackluster area of the Disney property and just feels like it takes forever to complete. This year was slightly different as kids that were there for a soccer camp stopped playing to cheer runners on as they passed by. And while running through the stadium where the Atlanta Braves have their spring training is awesome, by the time I got there I was feeling like garbage.

Coming out of Wide World of Sports is a great feeling as you pass by the mile 20 mark and are really entering the home stretch. A few miles of road pass by before you hit Hollywood Studios. From this point on, the race is filled with amazing scenery and tons of people cheering you on. It was at this point that I realized I hadn’t stopped to walk longer than a few steps while passing through a water stop. With less than five miles to go, I was determined to just push on and run it out.

I also had started looking at the clocks at each mile marker and realized that not only was my main goal of finishing in under 4 hours completely attainable, but PRing was totally in my reach.

With each mile that passed I did the math in my head to see what my pace would have to be in order to hit a PR. 3:36 was the magic number to beat, and it would be close.

I ran down the main street in Hollywood Studios on fire! People were lined up everywhere cheering runners on. Their energy pushed me to keep going, no matter how badly I wanted to stop.

I passed mile 24 and came into the Boardwalk area that I had run through just two days before at the 10K. This time, the Boardwalk seemed endless. A couple of turns had me in World Showcase, where I saw the Mile 25 sign in Paris. I tried to keep my mind off the last mile that I knew lie ahead of me. I focused on the knowledge that I had 10 minutes left to break my PR.

My quads were tightened, begging to be stretched. My calves had become cows and wanted to do nothing but sit out in the pasture. Finally, I came into Mexico, the last country of the World Showcase. Man, this was taking forever.

I crossed the World/Time barrier and pushed through Future World – turn after turn went by…where was the finish line?? Were there this many turns the days before? Yeah, there’s a gospel choir, I must be in the right place.

Finally, the finish line appeared and I took off in a mad dash that made me feel faster than lightning, but what was really no more than a hobbled saunter. The clock was ticking, I had just over a minute until my PR expired.

Never before have I jumped so high after running 26.2 miles as I did when I crossed the finish line knowing that I had just set a new marathon PR as part of the Dopey Challenge. The clock had me registered at 3:35 as I passed under it, and my official time had me clocked in at 3:33 – a new PR by over 3 minutes. It took me over three years to break that PR, but I had finally done it. Since September of 2014, I had broken my half, 5K and 10K PRs, and now I had a nice new marathon PR to add to that collection.

Knowing that I had just finished 48.6 miles of running through Disney World and topped it off by crushing my marathon times of the previous years had me on an absolutely incredible runner’s high that I don’t think I’ve quite come down from yet.

It used to be that I would walk away from a long distance race or challenge and say to myself, “Never again”. I’m so glad to finally be at the point where I say to myself, “I can’t wait to do this again!”

2015 Disney World Half Marathon Recap

Waking up on the third day of the Dopey Challenge for the half marathon is unquestionably the hardest thing to do. By the time the third day rolls around, burnout from the early mornings is starting to set in, especially since you really have to be up earlier than the previous two days because of the longer walk to the starting corrals.


The morning of the half had warmed up slightly from the previous two days, but at 4AM any chill just feels way colder than it actually is.

For the half, I had my wife coming with me as she was taking on her first Goofy Challenge. Before the race, we met up with some of our teammates from Ragnar Cape Cod, then made our way down the long trek to the starting line. The walk to the starting corrals sort of has that feeling of cattle being led to slaughter. 24,000 runners are all packed in to a pretty small space, huddling together for warmth while half asleep with each thinking to themselves, “Man, should I find a port-a-potty now, or just wait until the race starts?” (Just a tip, lines for the port-o-lets are usually shorter down by the starting line, and if you can, wait until the race starts and use the first set that is just about a mile in)


This was now my 4th year running the Disney World Half Marathon, and the start of the race never gets old. Donald, Mickey and Goofy all take the stage to count the runners off.


Then the fireworks blast off and send runners on their way. I was lucky enough to be in Corral B, so the two minute wait after the first set of runners left flew by.


This year, I opted to run the half wearing the hydration pack that I picked up for my ultra back in October. I didn’t have a chance to test it during a road race, only on the trails, so I wanted to see how it would feel at a faster pace since I planned on wearing it during the full. It also gave me the opportunity to play with a new GoPro that I picked up as I was able to secure it to my chest straps. Unfortunately it didn’t give the smoothest video, but I refuse to wear a headband, or worse, carry a self-stick!

video

The course was the exact same as previous years’ races, but the entertainment on the course helped the miles pass quickly. There were also some different characters out cheering runners on than previous years.

Running down Main Street USA coming into the Magic Kingdom is just simply something that can’t be beat. The castle is all lit up, the crowd is electric, it’s an unbeatable feeling. And when you couple that with being able to run through the completely finished New Fantasyland for the first time before booking through the castle, and it’s what makes running this half so worth it.

 
The rest of the race passed by pretty uneventfully. Having run this course so many times now, it makes me wish they’d change it up a bit. The second half of the race between Magic Kingdom and Epcot gets to be a really long stretch of nothing much to see.

Passing back into Epcot at the end is always a great feeling. The loop in and around Future World is such a great feeling because you know the end is near. As runners come to the Mile 13 marker, they’re greeted by a gospel choir, singing the praises of the runners through that last .1 mile.

I ended up finishing in 1:45 which gave me some time to head over and cheer on other runners as they finished.


With 3 races down, only 26.2 miles stood between me and my second Dopey Challenge medal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Racing Schedule

I have to say, my 2015 racing schedule is shaping up much slower than I thought it would. But a big part of that is I keep picking some really expensive races!

Right now I have a great grouping of races, but apparently I must be bored with Connecticut because as of right now, only two of them are actually in this state.

Here’s what’s on the schedule so far:

March 14 – Rock ‘n’ Roll DC

I’m beyond excited to finally be taking on a marathon in a place other than Connecticut or Disney World. Of 8 marathons that I’ve run, they’ve all been in those two places. Having missed out on the Marine Corps Marathon last year, I can’t wait to finally get the chance to run through the nation’s Capital.

March 21 – Savin Rock Marathon

The next week, I’ll be back for another CT-based marathon. The Savin Rock Half Marathon has traditionally been the race to kick off the racing season here in Connecticut. This year, they’ve added a brand new full marathon option. This is the only race is what’s known as the Shoreline Shark series that I haven’t tackled yet, and I’m really happy to be able to take on an inaugural marathon.

This has been one runDisney event that I never thought I would actually do. That is, until runDisney announced that this year would be the last year for it. My wife has wanted to do this race for years, but traveling so far for a 5K just didn’t seem worth it. When runDisney let it be known that the event wouldn’t be going on after this year, I surprised my wife with entries for us to take part in its last running.


Another race I didn’t think I’d be doing this year was the Ragnar Cape Cod relay. Having done it the past two years, I didn’t think I’d be able to get a team together. Then I found an ultra-team that needed another person and before I knew it, I had myself signed up to take on 200 miles of Massachusetts miles with five other people, rather than the usual 12.


While I love the concept of the Ragnar Relay with traveling over 200 miles, the idea of the Ragnar Trail races really intrigues me. 8 runners are on each team rather than the usual 12, and instead of driving 200 miles, runners have a base camp where all runners start from then run through three trails until all runners have finished. It sounds like a great party atmosphere and a more laid-back vibe than the energetic van relay.

September 3-6 - Dumbo Double Dare

West Coast Disney races are always so unique compared to their East Coast counterparts. With this being the 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon, and since my wife and I both took part in the 10th Anniversary of Goofy, we couldn’t say no to making the trek our west to earn my wife’s first Coast to Coast medal and my third.

October 17 - SoNo Half Marathon

In a year of inaugural and anniversary races, I’m excited to be taking part in the inaugural SoNo (South Norwalk) Half Marathon. I just happened across this race thanks to Facebook and it is shaping up to be a really exciting race. The scenery for this course is said to be amazing and the excitement that any inaugural race brings really has this race standing out.

My family had such an amazing time at this race last year that we ended up signing up for this year’s race the day we got back. The course is fantastic, the medals are amazing, the race is a massive event and Cleveland is such a great city to visit. This is the perfect race to end the year with.



What's on your race calendar for 2015??

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

2015 Disney World Marathon Recap

Sometimes the most amazing things happen when you least expect them. That is exactly what happened to me at the Disney World Marathon. Waking up for the last race of the Dopey Challenge was no easy task. By the fourth day I was drained, since this was now my fifth early morning if you add in our travel day down to Florida.

My body was sore and after dealing with so many cold mornings, I was pretty much ready to be done with this challenge. I wasn’t really sure what to expect as far as how much I’d have to give over the next 26.2 miles, but I knew finishing was the only option. I wanted my medals!

Driving over to the race, we hit the worst traffic we had encountered in four years of driving to the races. Watching the clock, I was starting to get a little nervous about if we’d make it to the race on time. But finally traffic broke and we made it to Epcot and ended up being parked insanely close to the starting line. (Tip: If you drive to the races, try and stay as far to the left as you can when you get into Epcot. It will line you up with a short walk to the starting areas)

I didn’t have a lot of time to spare, so I kissed my wife goodbye and wished her luck as she went off to meet her friends before taking off on her first marathon.

I made it to my corral with very little time to spare before the race started off. I caught a glimpse of the 3:25 pace group in front of me and figured that would be the last I’d see of them. The past times I’ve run the Disney World Marathon had all been part of challenges, and the fastest time I had was 4:01 and that was four years ago!


It was with great surprise that as I came by the water stop before the Contemporary Resort that I found myself engulfed in the 3:25 pace group. Normally I was used to pace groups engulfing me as they passed me by, not because I caught up to them.

But I figured it was a fluke as I came through the Magic Kingdom. As I hit mile 8 and entered the Disney World Speedway, I was still hanging in with them. It didn’t make sense, I felt really good running. I kept telling myself that there was no way I could hang in with them for another 18 miles, but if I could stay with them until mile 10, I’d be thrilled.

Somewhere around the mile 11 mark, bananas were being passed out to runners and I made the huge mistake of grabbing one. I remembered the previous year when I came to mile 18 so hungry that I could have probably eaten one of my shoes, so I didn’t want to end up with that problem again. Running and eating a banana is really really tough, and I ended up choking on the not-quite-ripe enough fruit. Blah!

Inside Animal Kingdom is where I finally separated from the 3:25 pace group, but oddly enough I hit the halfway point at a pace that gave me an anticipated finish time of 3:24. In my head, and more importantly in my legs, keeping that pace seemed impossible.

I took my first walking break just after I hit the mile 14 marker. I popped off my hydration pack to grab some gummy bears that I had brought with me. The distance between Animal Kingdom and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports felt like it would take forever to cover. As I walked and ate, I figured it would only be a matter of moments before the next pace group rushed past me.

I strapped my pack back on and started running again. I thought about switching to a run/walk but I knew that the stopping and starting would lead to me just wanting to walk.

When Disney changed the full marathon course three years ago, the addition of running through Wide World of Sports was probably one of my least favorite changes. It’s such a lackluster area of the Disney property and just feels like it takes forever to complete. This year was slightly different as kids that were there for a soccer camp stopped playing to cheer runners on as they passed by. And while running through the stadium where the Atlanta Braves have their spring training is awesome, by the time I got there I was feeling like garbage.

Coming out of Wide World of Sports is a great feeling as you pass by the mile 20 mark and are really entering the home stretch. A few miles of road pass by before you hit Hollywood Studios. From this point on, the race is filled with amazing scenery and tons of people cheering you on. It was at this point that I realized I hadn’t stopped to walk longer than a few steps while passing through a water stop. With less than five miles to go, I was determined to just push on and run it out.

I also had started looking at the clocks at each mile marker and realized that not only was my main goal of finishing in under 4 hours completely attainable, but PRing was totally in my reach.

With each mile that passed I did the math in my head to see what my pace would have to be in order to hit a PR. 3:36 was the magic number to beat, and it would be close.

I ran down the main street in Hollywood Studios on fire! People were lined up everywhere cheering runners on. Their energy pushed me to keep going, no matter how badly I wanted to stop.

I passed mile 24 and came into the Boardwalk area that I had run through just two days before at the 10K. This time, the Boardwalk seemed endless. A couple of turns had me in World Showcase, where I saw the Mile 25 sign in Paris. I tried to keep my mind off the last mile that I knew lie ahead of me. I focused on the knowledge that I had 10 minutes left to break my PR.

My quads were tightened, begging to be stretched. My calves had become cows and wanted to do nothing but sit out in the pasture. Finally, I came into Mexico, the last country of the World Showcase. Man, this was taking forever.

I crossed the World/Time barrier and pushed through Future World – turn after turn went by…where was the finish line?? Were there this many turns the days before? Yeah, there’s a gospel choir, I must be in the right place.

Finally, the finish line appeared and I took off in a mad dash that made me feel faster than lightning, but what was really no more than a hobbled saunter. The clock was ticking, I had just over a minute until my PR expired.

Never before have I jumped so high after running 26.2 miles as I did when I crossed the finish line knowing that I had just set a new marathon PR as part of the Dopey Challenge. The clock had me registered at 3:35 as I passed under it, and my official time had me clocked in at 3:33 – a new PR by over 3 minutes. It took me over three years to break that PR, but I had finally done it. Since September of 2014, I had broken my half, 5K and 10K PRs, and now I had a nice new marathon PR to add to that collection.

Knowing that I had just finished 48.6 miles of running through Disney World and topped it off by crushing my marathon times of the previous years had me on an absolutely incredible runner’s high that I don’t think I’ve quite come down from yet.

It used to be that I would walk away from a long distance race or challenge and say to myself, “Never again”. I’m so glad to finally be at the point where I say to myself, “I can’t wait to do this again!”

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

2015 Disney World Half Marathon Recap

Waking up on the third day of the Dopey Challenge for the half marathon is unquestionably the hardest thing to do. By the time the third day rolls around, burnout from the early mornings is starting to set in, especially since you really have to be up earlier than the previous two days because of the longer walk to the starting corrals.


The morning of the half had warmed up slightly from the previous two days, but at 4AM any chill just feels way colder than it actually is.

For the half, I had my wife coming with me as she was taking on her first Goofy Challenge. Before the race, we met up with some of our teammates from Ragnar Cape Cod, then made our way down the long trek to the starting line. The walk to the starting corrals sort of has that feeling of cattle being led to slaughter. 24,000 runners are all packed in to a pretty small space, huddling together for warmth while half asleep with each thinking to themselves, “Man, should I find a port-a-potty now, or just wait until the race starts?” (Just a tip, lines for the port-o-lets are usually shorter down by the starting line, and if you can, wait until the race starts and use the first set that is just about a mile in)


This was now my 4th year running the Disney World Half Marathon, and the start of the race never gets old. Donald, Mickey and Goofy all take the stage to count the runners off.


Then the fireworks blast off and send runners on their way. I was lucky enough to be in Corral B, so the two minute wait after the first set of runners left flew by.


This year, I opted to run the half wearing the hydration pack that I picked up for my ultra back in October. I didn’t have a chance to test it during a road race, only on the trails, so I wanted to see how it would feel at a faster pace since I planned on wearing it during the full. It also gave me the opportunity to play with a new GoPro that I picked up as I was able to secure it to my chest straps. Unfortunately it didn’t give the smoothest video, but I refuse to wear a headband, or worse, carry a self-stick!

video

The course was the exact same as previous years’ races, but the entertainment on the course helped the miles pass quickly. There were also some different characters out cheering runners on than previous years.

Running down Main Street USA coming into the Magic Kingdom is just simply something that can’t be beat. The castle is all lit up, the crowd is electric, it’s an unbeatable feeling. And when you couple that with being able to run through the completely finished New Fantasyland for the first time before booking through the castle, and it’s what makes running this half so worth it.

 
The rest of the race passed by pretty uneventfully. Having run this course so many times now, it makes me wish they’d change it up a bit. The second half of the race between Magic Kingdom and Epcot gets to be a really long stretch of nothing much to see.

Passing back into Epcot at the end is always a great feeling. The loop in and around Future World is such a great feeling because you know the end is near. As runners come to the Mile 13 marker, they’re greeted by a gospel choir, singing the praises of the runners through that last .1 mile.

I ended up finishing in 1:45 which gave me some time to head over and cheer on other runners as they finished.


With 3 races down, only 26.2 miles stood between me and my second Dopey Challenge medal.