07 Oct

Run for the Cure 2013

WOW.

I can’t believe this is already the 8th Run for the Cure that we’ve participated in.

Run for the Cure 2013 (3)
Just a part of this year’s team, icancervive

Our team, icancervive, is a group of our friends and family who come together to have a good time, raise money for breast cancer, and remember my mom, Hiyan Campagna, who passed away from the disease in August of 2006.

Run day is one of my favourite days of the year. I always look forward to it because it covers all the things I love: getting together with family, doing something active, eating (we always go out for breakfast after), and, of course, my late mom.

Run for the Cure 2013 (5)
Matt and I, post-run

Every year is the same.

We wake up early and meet at the Windsor riverfront about an hour before the start of the run.

We don our team t-shirts and buttons and try to keep warm as we wait for the race to begin (except this year when we tried to keep dry, but at least it was warm!) .

My dad and his friends begin their walk, crossing the starting line extra early so they can finish around the same time as the runners even though they still have to wait for all the other walkers on our team to come in before we go for breakfast.

Run for the Cure 2013 (2)

Me with my dad and Silvia, who crossed the finish not long after I did due to their early start.

We watch Sandi, our teammate, on stage with the breast cancer survivors as a living representation of the outcome of all our fundraising efforts.

Run for the Cure 2013 (6)
My sister Vicki, our team survivor & top funraiser Sandi, and I.

We do a really cheesy warm-up that involves more hip rolling than is necessary for a 5K run.

Run for the Cure 2013 (4)
No fetuses were harmed in the making of this photo

And then we take off.

Not long after the starting horn, my cousin Jessica is already blasting through the finish line and winning the race. Her athleticism is an anomaly in our family.

Run for the Cure 2013 (1)
That’s Jess in the middle

Usually we have an even number of runners and walkers but out of this year’s 23 participants only 3 of us ran: Jess, my friend Kyle, and I. I ran in about 25 minutes which wasn’t bad considering I took a few walking breaks but, then again, the course is about 500m short of 5K, which is a pretty significant amount.

After everyone crosses the finish line we head out for breakfast as our after party for more socializing.

Run for the Cure 2013 (7)
Waiting patiently for our breakfast

This year we have raised over $2800 this year and over the 8 years participating in the Run for the Cure we’ve accumulated nearly $25,000 in funds for breast cancer research. Not too shabby, folks.

For more information on where all that money goes, check out the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation website.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to participate and everyone who donated to the cause. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!

 

Past Runs for the Cure:

Run for the Cure 2010

Run for the Cure 2011

Run for the Cure 2012

08 Nov

Packing for a Race

If you didn’t get a chance to read my Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago recap, check it out here.

Getting set for the 15K race didn’t seem as daunting as when I packed for the marathon. I didn’t need to worry about quite as much gear and fuel. I brought very little with me besides my iPod and a fanny pack with a $20 and some toilet paper and travel wipes. Ya know, the necessities.

Here’s how it went down:

Stuff that came in handy on my 15K race:

My Fanny Pack.

Actually it’s a standard money belt that I got from The Bay’s luggage section a few years ago but it works fine for running. Since my running clothes don’t have pockets, this comes in pretty handy for holding things I need while I race.

My Wool Base Layer Shirt.

This cost me an arm and a leg when I bought it last year (ie. $90) but it was so worth it. Mine is Helly Hansen but I’m sure any wool base layer would do the trick. It kept me really warm all on its own in the 50*F temps (but under lots of layers in the winter it’s even warmer) and wool is naturally moisture wicking too. . . which is good for all my sweatiness.

DSCF1279_2

Travel Wipes.

I picked these up at Shoppers Drug Mart for a couple of bucks. Came in very handy when I encountered some nasty porta-potty seats on the course and afterward. I didn’t end up needing the extra toilet paper I brought, but it was good as a “just-in-case”.

Travel Wipes

Stuff I could have done without:

Sport Beans

My sister bought a pack for each of us at the expo. I’m not really sure how they’re different from regular jelly beans, to be honest. I don’t think jelly beans work as a running fuel. They’re too chewy to get down, easily especially while running when salivating is not so easy. But they are damn tasty!

Sport Beans

My Sports Bra

Okay, obviously I needed a sports bra, but the sports bra that I chose left my back pretty chaffed, not unbearable but definitely annoying. I actually wasn’t expecting that.

My Shirt

The blue one. I don’t even know why I wore it? It was useless.

Stuff I wish I brought:

My Camera:

The husband and bro-in-law had my camera, which was great because they could take pictures of us, but I would have also liked to have taken pictures in the corral, on the course, and immediately after the race before they caught up to us.

A Sweater:

Or something warm to put on after the race finished. In spite of my warm base layer, I was chilly once I stopped moving. (We did get one for free, ya know)

Hot Chocolate 15K 2012 Sweater

Tomorrow night I have a much needed post-race massage. I’m so looking forward to it. Nothing feels better than a full body massage.

06 Nov

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago – Recap

This weekend Matt and I and Tina loaded up and hit the road for Illinois. Tina, my sister Vicki, and I were registered to run the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago on Sunday morning.

I was really excited about registering for this race because, hello, chocolate. It didn’t take much convincing to get Vicki and Tina in on it as well. (And for the record I did ask my husband and brother-in-law, and they did not feel chocolate was worth and hour and a half of running. Pffft. Boys.)

I guess 39,999 other people felt the same way so this was one HUGE race.

I had read some pretty terrible reviews of past Hot Chocolate races, but it seemed like a lot of the bad reviews were from 5K participants or people complaining about terrible traffic or runners who were underwhelmed by getting *gasp* only half a banana with their fondue. I figured it was all trivial and registered anyway.

Then on Friday before we left for Illinois I checked out the race’s facebook page only to discover that people were waiting in line for 2 hours to pick up their race packet! Derp. The only other BIG race this big I’ve done is the Disney Marathon and I waited exactly 0min 0sec to pick up my packet so I was not expecting this at all.

But at least I knew in advance, so my jaw didn’t quite drop when I saw this massive line snaking around the soldier field parking lot on Saturday afternoon:

Hot Chocolate 15K Expo Line-upI know. I can’t see the end either.

The wait ended up being only about 45 minutes. At least we were in good spirits.

This wait was the only real “glitch” in the organization. Otherwise, I suppose I could complain that the race was narrow at certain points, but for the most part I thought the run was great.

With the changing of the clocks we got an extra hour of sleep so our 5:50 wake-up call at the hotel didn’t feel extraordinarily early. We threw on our gear and I made sure to get in a bathroom break so I wouldn’t have to worry about runner’s trots and then walked over to Grant Park for the start of the race.

Tina, aka Miss “I-Can-Only-Really-Run-For-10-minutes”, managed to finagle a spot in the D Corral so she started not long after the 7AM shotgun. I was in J, starting at 7:30, and Vicki was in N so she didn’t take off almost 8:00 (a fact that she was none too pleased about). I was a little sad that none of us were in the same corral, but at least we didn’t have to fret over what pace to keep or whether or not we would stick together.

About 100-200m out from the starting line I tripped and went flying to the ground, cutting my finger and scraping up the skin on my leg. Luckily I wasn’t trampled or tripped over, but I was really upset and fighting back tears of frustration.

Battle Scar from the Hot Chocolate 15KBattle Scars

I was feeling great for the first half of the race. The boys caught up to me (literally. My brother-in-law Sean was sprinting beside me after spotting me from a distance and nearly missing a photo op) at mile 3. I was so excited because I had been expecting to see them at mile 1 and was keeping an eye out.

Hot Chocolate 15K ChicagoMile 3, the place to be.

The course had nice views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. I didn’t like that it was narrow in spots, particularly along the lakefront trail, and that there were a few hills but that’s just because I’m a pussy when it comes to running on any incline whatsoever (Essex County is majorly flat.) For the most part, the race was great.

I wasn’t wearing my watch, but based on the mile markers my pace was about 9 min/mi for the first half of the race. I slowed down a bit in mile 5.

Then, naturally, near the end of mile 5 my intestines decided to do backflips and I was in very desperate need of a porta-potty, which I lumbered towards at mile 7.

I probably lost a good 3 minutes of time in the porta-potty but it didn’t help all that much. My stomach was still turning. I tried to keep my pace strong, but I did take a few walking breaks to ease my tummy troubles.

Surprisingly the entire race went by really fast. Before I knew it, I was running past the Field Museum and coming up on the finish line. I nearly missed seeing the boys again at the 9 mile mark but I caught them in the nick of time and called out to them. Apparently they almost missed me too!

Hot Chocolate 15K ChicagoMy Sweaty Self at mile 9. I think I’m fake-running for the picture.

As I saw the clock above the finish, I realized I could probably wrap this thing up in 1:30 which was a vague goal of mine but, given my runner’s trots, one I wasn’t expecting to hit.

I picked up the pace and BAM!

Hot Chocolate 15K Results

Then, I ran straight to find more porta potties.

Later I grabbed my Finisher’s Mug which included a steaming hot cup of cocoa and fondue with apple, marshmallow, a rice krispie square, and pretzels for dipping. Oh yeah, and a whole banana.

Hot Chocolate 15K ChicagoTina, Vicki, and I with our (mostly empty, at this point) finisher’s mugs.

I reconnected with Tina (who finished in 1:22!!) and then Vicki came over not long after, with an impressive 1:37 finish that smashed her 1:40 goal.

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago

Overall, I really liked the Hot Chocolate 15K.

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago

Was it worth the $73 to enter? I’d say yes, but only because it was 15K. I don’t think I’d go through the hassle to do it for just the 5K. The course was fun, the hot chocolate and fondue were great, and in spite of my bowel issues I had a great time.

Plus there was this snazzy tech hoodie, which is pretty good quality and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be getting a lot of use out of.

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago hoodieSuper Exciting Technical Hoodie!

‘Til next year? . . . perhaps.

 


Hot Chocolate 15K By the Numbers:

Final Time: 1:30:29
Goal Time: 1:30:00
Training Miles Run: 35 (I know, not a lot)
Bathroom Breaks: 1 during the course, countless afterward
Food Eaten on Course: 4 Sport Beans, 1 PowerBar (pre-run)
Cups of Gatorade Consumed: 1
Body Parts in Pain: 2: the leg and finger and cut up when falling

01 Oct

Run for the Cure 2012

Sunday marked my team’s 7th year participating in the annual Run for the Cure which raises money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

This year our team, icancervive, was put together in memory of my mom, Hiyan Campagna, who passed away from breast cancer in 2006. Together we have raised over $2000 this year and over the 7 years participating in the Run for the Cure we’ve accumulated more than $20,000 in funds for breast cancer research.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has a great website with information on how to reduce your risk of breast cancer. I encourage you all to check it out. (You can also check out some past posts that I’ve done about breast cancer risks, and my previous Run for the Cure recaps here.

Run for the Cure 2012Me representing team icancervive. I loved the shirts this year!

We had one of the warmest mornings I can remember for the Run for the Cure. The sun was shining and despite some weather forecast calling for rain, the sky was completely clear.

Our team was a bit smaller this year than normal due to some family being halfway across the world and others being on the cusp of a firstborn child but we still had a solid 12 people turn out.

Run for the Cure 2012Matt and I in front of the Detroit skyline, pre-race

About half of the team walked, and the rest of us ran. They changed the path slightly so that it was an out and back entirely on the road, which made it great to see our team mates as they passed in the opposite direction. This was extremely helpful this year since the volunteers who were supposed to be cheering us on at the sidelines were totally crap and barely made any noise at all (a far cry from the cheering and noisemakers of prior years). You really do notice when that extra encouragement from spectators isn’t there to give you that much needed energy boost.

Run for the Cure 2012Me, Vicki, and Tina

This isn’t a race, by the way. It’s just a fun run. There are no time chips but I do like to time myself with my watch when I do it. My friend Tina and I ran together and came in at about 26 minutes. Not too shabby considering Tina was battling a side stitch for a good chunk of the run (she’s a trooper, I totally would have been walking if I were her). Her brother Michael killed it in 22 minutes!

After the race we all headed back to my dad’s house for a barbecue and to watch the Lions game. It was good times.

Congrats to everyone that took part and thanks again to everyone who donated and helped us quash our $1500 team fundraising goal by more than $500! Woot Woot!

See you all next year 🙂

Run for the Cure 2012Matt, Kyle, Me, and the Boobies

Past Run for the Cures:

Run for the Cure 2010

Run for the Cure 2011

08 May

Easy Run

Running Shoes

Saturday afternoon between cleaning the bathroom and baking cookies I was looking for something to do so I decided to go for an 3 mile Easy Run.

Easy runs are short runs performed at a long distance pace, so you should feel pretty comfortable when you do them. You can use them to build aerobic fitness and help condition your muscles to be able to handle long distance running. They are also a good way to recover from hard workouts while helping you maintain your weekly mileage.

People (and by people I mean non-runners) can get really annoyed when you throw around the term ‘easy run’, like you’re rubbing it in their face or something– “Look at me, I can run 5 miles and it’s soooo easy!” –which really isn’t the case at all. I never actually find running ‘easy’.

My kind of easy run is about getting outside on a gorgeous day, pumping out endorphins, and feeling good. I’m not looking to struggle or speed or run my PR, I just want to have a good time.

My typical easy run is:
– 10:00/mi or slower (but I’m not sure because I don’t time it)
– 3-5 miles
– outside in good weather

Doing sprint intervals or tough loooooong distance runs makes running feel a bit like a chore at times, and I find that an easy run is a good reminder of why I enjoy running in the first place.

So back to my run on Saturday. . .

I was a bit tired that afternoon and I had no excuse to be. All I did in the morning was go see the awesome private screening of my friend’s first feature movie called Riot (I was in it for 2 seconds! I’m famous! No autographs, please.)

I headed out for the run anyway and even though I was keeping the pace slow I was sluggish in my first 1/4 mile or so. I couldn’t get into the groove and my easy run pace meant I would have to endure the distance for even longer than normal.

I wasn’t feeling good. I wasn’t high on endorphins. I was struggling and it wasn’t fun. I wanted it to be over with.

So I completely abandoned the easy run ideal, since it wasn’t feeling very easy anyway, and picked up the pace. I finished a 5K loop in 25 minutes which has been my typical speed lately for this distance, but is about 5minutes faster than I had intended.

Some days you just have to motor through it I guess.

02 May

Conditioning Drills: Terrible Twenties

In keeping with the theme of crazy conditioning drills last night I decided to bust out Terrible 20s.

Terrible Twenties – a sprinting drill sandwiched between a shit tonne of push-ups and sit-ups.

You need a space of at least 50 metres to do this drill, so I jogged over to a portion of the trail near my house that’s a bit quieter so people wouldn’t see the crazy girl running back & forth a million times.
I guesstimated and marked off a distance of 50m which, due to my poor distance perception, I later discovered was actually 150 metres. Blast! I worked harder than I had to (no wonder the sprints were so tough!).

Here’s how the drill goes:

It took me about 50 minutes or so to finish the whole thing for a total of:

2000m of sprints (6000m in my case)
210* push-ups
210* sit-ups

Intense.

*Math Nerd Alert: It is exciting that my knowledge of the ‘sum of consecutive integers’ formula finally could be put to use in the real world.

28 Mar

Gallo Pinto

So after a week off running my legs are feeling alright and my stamina is through the roof. Today I killed 3.1 miles (5K) in 24 minutes and then I even kept running for another 2 miles to round out 5 miles in just under 42 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve had such a speedy run!

And speaking of running, here’s an interesting article on mammals and the “Runner’s High”.

Now onto the food:

I’m in love with beans & rice.

I told Matt this weekend that as long as I have beans and rice in the pantry and a bunch of cilantro in the fridge then I don’t need to bother with groceries. He begged to differ and went grocery shopping anyway, coming home with things like meat and eggs. Pssht, who needs ‘em? (Okay so I actually requested these ingredients, but, ya know, I don’t need them per se)

I’m trying to get you excited about beans and rice here, but I don’t think it’s working. No one seems to like them as much as I do. I may very well be the only person who clears her side dish of beans&rice at Mexicantown and then eyes everyone else’s untouched side with jealousy and maybe a bit of empathy for the dish itself.

I really could live off of beans and rice for the rest of my life. The variations are endless. Endless!! But right now gallo pinto is my favourite one.

Gallo Pinto

Gallo pinto is yet another variation of the beans & rice combination that you’ll find in virtually every country in the world. It is a Costa Rican dish that is more of a breakfast food than a dinner. I’ll eat it for both and in the same day.

This isn’t true gallo pinto though. True gallo pinto is made with the liquid reserved from cooking the beans. I used red wine instead, making this variation all kinds of awesome. I don’t even want to try making it without red wine now (it’s just too good with it!).

If you’re looking for a traditional gallo pinto recipe, then look away my friend, look away.

Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto (Refried Beans and Rice)

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 T olive oil
6 small garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 c of cooked rice
2 t cumin
1 can kidney beans
1 c red wine
1 bay leaf
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, optional

Directions

Add the oil and garlic to a large deep pan or saucepan and heat it on medium-heat until the garlic starts sizzling. Add the onion and peppers and sautee until the onions are softened.

Add the rice to the onions and fry for 10 minutes, stirring continuously so the rice doesn’t stick to the pan.

Add the cumin, beans, red wine, bay leaf, worcestershire, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is absorbed.

Serve topped with fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

20 Mar

Running Pains and Other Updates

DSCF7432

I’ve been having some shin and calf pain lately when I run. It’s really weird. Besides the occasional muscle soreness, I’ve never had any pain from running before.

Last week on a 3-miler my legs were sore enough for me to make a mental note not to run on the weekend. My mental notes are hardly reliable, so of course when Matt asked me on Saturday morning if I wanted to go for a run with him I forgot immediately. (Running with Matt rarely happens and I always jump at the chance when it does.)

About 5 paces into the our run, I remembered my mental note.

Matt is a pretty fast runner, so luckily we were keeping the pace slower than normal otherwise I might have been limping back to the house. I spent the rest of Saturday icing my shins and calves, hoping for the best, and wondering how the pain happened in the first. I haven’t even been running all that much, maybe 10 or 12 miles a week. Could it be my circuit training?

In any case, I plan to not run at all this week. Instead I’m going spend my cardio days in spinning class at the gym, and maybe take an extra yoga class if I can find the time. It’s been a while since I’ve taken spinning and it will be nice to do a group exercise class again for a change of pace.

In other news, my sugar-free Lent has been going alright. I have had a few candies here and there and once I ate some strawberry yoghurt without even thinking about it, but otherwise I’ve been eating a lot of fruit and dates to satisfy my sweet tooth. My favourite sweet snack has been a frozen banana blended with cocoa powder in the food processor until it gets to an ice cream consistency. It’s almost as good as ice cream.

On the guitar-playing front, I recently picked up an electronic tuner so my music sounds tolerable, and a capo so I can sing along with the right pitch. It’s made a huge difference and now I’ve moved on from playing just Wonderwall.

I’m learning Turn the Page by Bob Seger and Hurt by Johnny Cash. My fingertips are starting to get callused but not so much that I can play for longer than about 40 minutes without  them hurting too much. At which point I just give up, eat my chocolate banana ice cream, and call it a night.

13 Jan

Packing List for a Destination Race

When I was getting ready to leave for Florida, I found that it was really helpful to make a packing list of everything that I was going to need for my big marathon race to make sure that I didn’t forget anything.

I put all of my “race day” stuff in a separate bag within my luggage so I wouldn’t have to do much to get ready the night before the race. All I needed was to pick up my bib and put out my race day bag on Saturday night so I was ready for the brutally early 3:20AM wake-up call on Sunday morning.

Word to the wise: Put all your running gear in a Carry-On, because if it gets lost, you’re fucked. Just imagine getting to your destination and not having your running shoes with you. Not good.

The night before the race I laid out my stuffed fanny pack, bib, race clothes, and running shoes

Race Day Packing List

Clothes:

-Running Shoes
-Socks – 2 pairs, in case it’s too cold to wear just one
-Underwear – especially if you have a certain pair you prefer to run in
-Shirts -bring an extra long sleeve shirt in case of cold weather
-Running Shorts or Tights or both
-Sports Bra
-Headgear – headband, hat, hair ties, hairpins
-Compression Gear – shirts/pants/shorts/sleeves if you wear them
-Warm clothes for the start – sweatshirts, sweatpants, gloves, hat, earmuffs (You can toss these on the side of the course mid-race. Most races will collect them to donate)
-Extra safety pins for your bib

Gear:

-Sunglasses
-Camera & Battery Charger
-MP3 player, Earbuds, & Charger
-Vaseline/BodyGlide/athletic tape for chaffing
-Bandages – in a ziploc bag to carry with you
-Food and Fuel – dates/gu/shot blocks/powerade/etc.; whatever you’re used to eating and drinking on course
-Knee Braces
-Fuel Belt with bottles or Camelback
-Extra Toilet Paper – in a ziploc bag to carry with you
-Fanny Pack – to carry fuel, bandages, toilet paper, and camera
-Watch
-Tylenol
-Sunscreen

Paperwork:

-Race Forms/Waivers, Bib, and Chip – if you get them in advance
-Proof of time – if you want to try to move up in corrals
-Pace charts
-Travel Itinerary
-Passport -if necessary

09 Jan

Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

I ran the Disney World Marathon on Sunday, January 8th. My first official marathon.

Click on the photos for bigger versions. See all of my marathon photos here.

Getting Ready:

The morning started out so early that it was actually late. A 3:20AM wake-up call got me up from a restless night of little sleep. I tossed my clothes on, brushed my teeth, and read through the motivational quotes that my friend Tina gave me for inspiration. I shoved a muffin and granola bar in my mouth and headed down to the hotel lobby for my 3:45 cab to Epcot and the marathon starting line.

The Starting Line:

Getting between the drop off point and the starting line meant a 20 minute walk. Tina walked with me and the 20,000 other runners all the way to the corrals even though she wasn’t supposed to. The morning was chilly, but not uncomfortably cold. I wore a light jacket to the start then handed it off to Tina before she left me for the spectator area.

I was more than pissed that my kickass music playlist was a no-go since my iPod decided to stop functioning just days before the marathon. I had no music to pump me up for the run and would only have myself and my thoughts for the next 26 miles. I was a concerned that I would run out of thoughts. :/

Waiting in my corral, my stomach was upset. A little bit from nervousness, but mostly from the cabbage I ate at an Irish Pub the night before. I know what you’re thinking Who the hell eats cabbage the night before a marathon?!? I have no words to explain my lack of foresight that evening.

I hit up the porta-potties at the start line just as the elite runners were about to take off. The extra toilet paper that I put in my fanny pack was genius! I patted myself on the back for at least that foresight.

The race started at 5:30 but, since I was in corral E, I didn’t start until 5:45. Mickey Mouse counted us down, there were fireworks, and then the runners took off.

Miles 1-9 –Excitement:

Mile 1 and 2 came and went before we hit Epcot centre. We ran through some of the World Showcase (I remember Mexico and Norway, but can’t remember if we ran through others) and then right out of the park.

Tina was waiting for me at mile 4 with noise-makers, cheering, and words of encouragement. She was waiting for me again at mile 9 and it was always so inspiring to have her cheering me on.

In spite of already having taken 2 bathroom breaks, I was keeping about a 10 minute mile pace. I was feeling really good at this point and getting excited to come up on the Magic Kingdom at Mile 10.

Mile 10 –Running through Magic Kingdom:

I would rate this one of the top experiences in my life; even higher than crossing the finish line. There were so many spectators lining Main Street USA making so much noise that you couldn’t help but be motivated by all the energy that was pumping through that place. I probably could have flown through Magic Kingdom on all that energy, but I stopped for photo-ops.

The anticipation builds as you are about to enter Cinderella’s castle too, which is the pinnacle of marathon running awesomeness.

And then out you come, feeling like a princess, with a whole bunch of snap-happy photographers there to take your picture.

Miles 11-13 –Coming off the high:

I was still in high spirits (although my stomach was not so I stopped again to use the porta-potty) after coming out of the Magic Kingdom in the part of the race. We ran past the Grand Floridian and the golf resort, both of which made for good scenery.

I spotted Tina again just before the 13 mile mark though the spectators were bit far from the route barrier so I didn’t get a chance to stop and talk to her at this point which was disappointing because I knew that I wouldn’t see her until the finish line and I wasn’t even halfway done.

Mile 14-16 –Three miles from Hell:

I run the back roads of Essex County so I’m intimately familiar with boring stretches of road, and yet getting through these 3 dull miles between Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom was tough. They call this an area “rarely seen by the public” but that’s just because it’s so awful. Hey Disney, let’s stop kidding ourselves and call it what it is: the worst part of the marathon course. You’re halfway through and there is nothing to look at, hardly any spectators, and very little incentive to keep running. At one point we even had to run past a garbage dump which smelled like ass and made me wonder out loud, “Are you fucking kidding me right now?!” to everyone around but no one in particular.

I had to make my fourth annoying bathroom stop to relieve my stomach ache and I stopped at the medical station to pump some biofreeze onto my right knee which was beginning to bother me at this point. At the medical stations they also had vaseline available. I considered reapplying some since I knew most of it had been wiped away during all my bathroom breaks, but I thought people would start to wonder when they saw me sticking my hand down my pants in public, so I refrained. In the end, the chaffing wasn’t so bad.

The highlight of this stretch was my photo-op with Pocahontas, Meeko, and John Smith from my favourite Disney movie. After that I gave a little fist pump and ran off at a quicker pace.

Mile 17-21 –Animal Kingdom:

I was relieved to see an ass on the side of the road. And falcons. It meant we were entering Animal Kingdom and most of the remaining miles would be through the theme parks. Animal Kingdom was open to the public by the time we ran through so there were lots of people around cheering on the runners. It wasn’t nearly as energetic as Magic Kingdom though where the spectators were lining the streets just to see the runners come through. I’ve never been to Animal Kingdom before but it was cool to run through the jungle trees, see the Tree of Life, and Mount Everest.

As we were leaving the park I stopped to get a photo with Minnie and then Mickey. That was my most exciting celebrity sighting.

Miles 19 to 21 were on a stretch of highway between Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios where I started to add lots of walking intervals among my slower running, decreasing my pace to about 12 minute miles. At mile 20.5 there were some entertainers lining the road and asking people where they were from. I shouted “Canada!” into the mic and the guy says, “Canada? Um, okay?” which made me confused. Was that the wrong answer?

Mile 22-24 –Hollywood Studios:

My left shin was really starting to hurt and the biofreeze did nothing for my knee. I kept my walking intervals but just being in the park motivated me to run a little more than I had been on the highways.

I felt that there was a lot more to experience in Hollywood Studios compared to Animal Kingdom. There were more spectators and there were more sights to see, like the tower of terror, a costume design studio, and the iconic sorcerer’s hat. The spectators there had a lot of energy, maybe because we were so close to the finish. Everyone was shouting, “Only 3 miles to go!” but 3 miles feels like a long time when you’ve already run 23.

I grabbed some candy and chocolate at mile 23. I pocketed the chocolate for later because the richness didn’t sound appetizing, but I pounded back the candy.

At mile 24 I stopped for my fifth and last bathroom break in an actual public bathroom which felt positively luxurious in comparison to the stinky porta-potties I was getting used to. I tried to force myself to run as much as possible for the last 2.2 miles.

Mile 25-26 –The Boardwalk and Epcot:

Because you don’t need a theme park ticket to check out the boardwalk, it was lined with lots of spectators there just for the race. The energy was really building at this point with just a mile left to go and so many people cheering on the runners, it felt pretty good to be almost done despite the pain I was feeling.

We ran through the World Showcase in Epcot again which was much better during the day when you can really experience it. No one was stopping for pictures at this point because the race was almost done. I stopped for a quick picture with the Beast in France, my favourite Disney leading man, and Mushu from Mulan in China.

Before I knew it I was rounding the corner toward the finish line.

The Finish:

The energy from the crowd here was intense! I figured Tina was somewhere out in the stands so I was just waving at everyone like a celebrity on the red carpet and hoping that I she would see me. (I ended up finding her just passed the finish line)

I was so happy with my race that I crossed the finish with a huge smile on my face.


Marathon By the Numbers:

Final Time: 5:14:50
Goal Time: 5:15ish or whatever
Training Miles Run: 347.5
Bathroom Breaks: 5
Food Eaten on Course: 2 dates, 1 banana, 2 Clif Shots, 1 pack of candies
Cups of Powerade Consumed: 30+
Body Parts in Pain: 4: lower back, right knee, left shin, right foot
Disney Characters I Took Pictures With: 26 (See all of my marathon photos here.)