Friday Five: Running Resources

And I’m back with this week’s Friday Five. This week I’m sharing Five-ish Running Resources.

First up, four (4) places to find training plans:

  1. The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training
  2. The “Non” Runner’s Guide to Marathon Training
  3. Hal Higdon Training Plans
  4. Couch-to-5K Running Plan

A follow-up, four (4) articles about running/training:

  1. Yasso 800s
  2. Two Types of Marathon Long Runs
  3. McMillan Pace Calculator
  4. Treadmill Pace Conversions

Next, eight (8) books about running that I’ve read:

  1. Run Less, Run Faster – Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, And Ray Moss
  2. YOU (Only Faster) — Greg McMillan
  3. Marathoning for Mortals – John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield
  4. My Life on the Run – Bart Yasso and Kathleen Parrish
  5. Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
  6. Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning — Hal Koerner
  7. Daniels’ Running Formula — Jack Daniels
  8. Advanced Marathoning — Pete Pfitzinger

Short and sweet, but that’s it for this weekend. Feel free to leave a question in the comment if you are looking for additional resources.

2015 In Review

As we say goodbye to 2015, and welcome 2016, I felt it appropriate to look back on where I came from as I plan ahead to wear I am going.

2015 Summary of Events:

  • 1510.5 Total Number of Miles Ran (As of 12/28)
  • 1 – 50K (December)
  • 5 Half Marathons (January, April, September (x2), October)
  • 1 Walking Half Marathon (September)
  • 1 Full Marathon (January)
  • 6 – 5Ks (January, March, June, August, November)
  • 3 – 10Ks (January, September, October)
  • 1 – 4 Miler (October)
  • 1- 15K (May)
  • 1 – Dopey Challenge (January)
  • 1 – Dumbo Double Dare (September)
  • 1 – Coast to Coast Challenge (September)
  • 5 GORUCK events (New Years Light (Atlanta), Light (Columbus), St. Paddy’s Challenge (Dublin), 4th of July Challenge (Gettysburg), Mog Mile Challenge (Cleveland))


  • Completing the New Albany Walking Classic (Half Marathon) with my mom…Half Marathon #16
  • Starting off the year with two 5Ks in 12 hours! (Midnight Special and Hangover Classic)
  • Setting 2 PRs (Twice)–Half Marathon and 10K.
  • Finishing my first ultramarathon!

Next up, a link up. I’ve really wanted to participate in one and I thought the perfect way to close out 2015 would be by participating in Courtney’s Year of Running Link Up.

Eat Pray Run DC
  • Best race experience: Disneyland Half Marathon. This was actually a hard decision. I ran a lot of new races and had such great experiences. Disneyland was probably my worst half marathon performance this year, but it was definitely my favorite race experience.
  • Best run: December 5th. I had a 20 mile training run scheduled. I’ve never had a long run feel so effortless.
  • Best new piece of running gear: Garmin Forerunner 230. I recently upgraded from my Nike+ SportWatch GPS. It was only 2 years old, but every run I was anxious. Then it froze during a 20 mile training run.
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: This isn’t running specific, but earlier this year I was told by someone to stop putting things off and making excuses as to why not now. If you want something, you’ll find a way. And it’s very true. But it’s also about dealing with fear, because fear will help you make excuses, while courage will help you toss them out the window!
  • Most inspirational runner: Andrea Duke! At 27, she ran her first marathon in 4:35; 10.5 years later she won her first marathon in 3:07. Besides, she is just so darn nice. If you’re curious, read more about her here.
    A close second is the ultrarunning dachshund, TruMan and his momo, Catra Corbett.
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year:

    I started off the year with Dopey. There was a little bit of pain and some tears (a whole lot of chaffing) but I did it.
  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Columbus Half Marathon. I went in having zero expectations to PR. The weather was almost the right temperature. My legs felt great. And even some of the crowding issues I experienced didn’t slow me down. I ran (for the most part) the most even race I think I’ve run in my “career.” Besides Columbus is my favorite race regardless.
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Changing. There were a lot of changes this year.

What I would like to know is how was your 2015 Year of Running? (Be sure to respond in the comments!)



Training Plans for Your Spring Race

Finding a training plan can be difficult. The internet is always a great place to begin but there are so many options.

The first step should be deciding how long do you want your training plan to be, but also knowing how long should your training plan be.

The second step will be determining the level of difficulty. Typically plans are broken up into Novice, Intermediate and Advanced. Some sites and programs will assist you in making this determination. This step also takes into account what works and doesn’t work for you, such as the number of days a week to train and types of workouts.

Another step would be considering how much you are willing to pay. There are free plans out there and there are plans you have to pay for. Depending on what type of runner you are and what your goals are for your upcoming race will determine the cost-benefit analysis of each plan.

Next I took the opportunity to share with you some resources I have found as well as some that I have used. This is not the end-all-be-all list of training resources, but just my own personal list that I wanted to share.

Full Marathon Training Plans

The recommended training period for a full marathon is 20 weeks, excepted for experienced runners who have sufficient base mileage and can use a 16 week plan.

Hal Higdon’s Training Plans for a full marathon run from 18-30 weeks and are free on his website.

Your Marathon Training Plan also offers free plans as well as coaching services.

Coach Jenny also offers free 20 week training plans.

Some races also offer specific training programs often for a discounted rate, in addition to their free training programs. For example, TCS New York Marathon offers both. Other free training programs include: Chicago Marathon, LA Marathon, Boston Marathon.

Half Marathon Training Plans

The recommended training period for a half marathon is 12-14 weeks.

Hal Higdon offers multiple 12 week training programs

5K Training Plans

Hal Higdon offers 8 week training programs.

There is always the iconic Couch-to-5K Running Plan, which now even has an app for that!

Full Marathon Relay Training Plans

This type of training is dependent on how long your relay leg.

Books containing Training Plans

Run Less, Run Faster – Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, And Ray Moss

YOU (Only Faster) — Greg McMillan

Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning — Hal Koerner

Daniels’ Running Formula — Jack Daniels

Advanced Marathoning — Pete Pfitzinger

Hansons Marathon MethodLuke Humphrey and Keith Hanson

Customized and Online Training Programs

Most of these programs are customized to your specific history and goals, and some of the programs can also be updated based on how your training progresses. The following links include a variety of training plans as well as coaching services.


Training Peaks

McMillan Running

Hansons Coaching Services

Other Resources

Runner’s World has training plans that can be downloaded to their RW2GO app, as a pdf, or to Training Peaks for varying fees.

The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training

The “Non” Runner’s Guide to Marathon Training

Question: What resources do you recommend?
Comment below!

Thanks for reading!





DISCLAIMER: All views expressed on this website are based on my own personal research and experiences. As always, please consult your doctor with any medical issues, or before beginning a training program.

Running Disney

I started off 2015 by completing the Dopey Challenge. Participating in a runDisney weekend really emphasizes that this is a (half) marathon not a sprint! While I am not an expert at all things runDisney, I thought I would share my tips for having a successful race weekend as well as a vacation!

Stay at a Disney Resort (if you can). The primary reason is transportation to and from the race. Buses get fast tracked (and sometimes there still is a decent amount of a wait). You don’t want to miss your start because you couldn’t make it to the parking in time. There are also hotels near Downtown Disney that also offer race weekend packages, which includes transportation to the start.

Book your dining reservations yesterday. Know when and where you are going to eat. Especially for you Dopeys out there. If you’re staying and eating at Disney this is key. This includes dining at Downtown Disney.

Go to bed at a reasonable hour. If you’re running just one race, you might be able to get away with a later evening. But if you’re running Goofy or Dopey, multiple early mornings will catch up to you.

Prepare for early wake-up calls. You have to be at the races no later than an hour before the start. You need to budget time for breakfast, morning routine and transportation to the start area.

Plan for breakfast. The resort cafes will not be open when you would like to enjoy your pre-race meal. Some of the Downtown Disney hotels did offer special grab-n-go meals to their runners.

Be mindful of when the buses stop running for road closures. Also keep in mind that as it gets closer to last call, the buses will be more crowded and even stop accepting riders (for safety reasons). Off-site hotels sometimes make you schedule a bus time as well.

Plan to be at the start area for an hour. This might mean an extra snack and a bottle of water. Don’t worry there are plenty of portable restrooms for you to use and space to do your warm-up strides.

Pack for the weather extremes. When I started stalking the weather report for Dopey 2015, the projection was for 60 degrees at the start. As the races approached, the 5K was going to be in the 40s, but the rest of the week would be 60s. And as the race drew closer, it appeared that all races would be a bit cold! This might mean packing a variety of race (and throw away) gear.

Understand that there are 20,000+ runners for the half and full marathons. This means that the course might be crowded at various points. The corral system is efficient for handling this, but there are points where the course narrows and can cause temporary clusters.

Embrace the excuse to run in a costume. Seriously. The best part of running Disney is planning my race costume then being in awe of all of the other costumes out there. Just make sure that the costume is something you can run in (and won’t cause chafing) and doesn’t involve a mask (since that’s against the rules).

Enjoy the magical miles. Running through the parks is quite an experience. You’ll see the lighting and so many things that you don’t notice during the day. Plus many Disney employees are out there cheering for you. Every race has something different that makes me feel like a kid at Christmas all over again.

Stop for character pictures. I don’t follow this advice and every time I always regret it.

Slow down. If you’re a serious runner, this is your chance to stop racing and take it all in. I have issues letting my competitive side go, but Disney is the perfect excuse to allow yourself not to be chasing a PR. This also means that if you’re a 4 hour marathoner, pack enough fuel for 5 hours because it’s better to be safe than sorry. (NOTE: I am not saying to add an hour on to you run time, but just to plan to be out on the course for a little bit extra than normal!)

Pack your medals. If you’re doing Dopey or Goofy (or even later in the year doing Coast to Coast), if you want an Official photo of you with all of your medals, you’re going to have to run with them. If you want an unofficial near the finish photo, then just pack them in gear bag. I wrapped mine in the race tee, so that they wouldn’t get scratched while being carried.

Plan on enjoy all that Disney has to offer.  This means plan a day or two at the parks. Utilize the fastpass+ system so you’re not spending half the day on your feet in lines. If you book your meal reservations, this also means you’ll eat on your own personal schedule too. If you’re like me, I can be a bit hangry if I don’t eat on time prior to a race; so bring snacks too!

Know that it’s okay to enjoy Orlando outside of Disney. Head over to Universal Studios. Or anywhere. Just because you’re running Disney does not mean you’re confined to the Resorts.

Head to the Expo. This is a given since you need to get your bib. But one tip first. If you spy anything you must-have when runDisney posts preview pics on their facebook, plan on being at the expo when it opens. Official merchandise sells out fast. I would suggest skipping the line for bib pickup and go directly to the Expo Merchandise area. Come back and do the bib thing after you’re done shopping.

Budget accordingly. Expo shopping, park souvenirs and meals can add up quickly. Have a budget planned in advanced so you don’t have a mild heart attack when you see your credit card bill!

Lastly, keep in mind that these are just my tips for a successful runDisney vacation weekend. These tips are primarily aimed at travelers like myself coming in from out of state who plan on enjoying a vacation while running Disney. I would like to note that I am not an expert. For that I will defer to Megan Biller who is the author of Magical Miles: The Runner’s Guide to WDW.
I am not an expert. I will defer to Megan Biller author of Magical Miles The Runner’s Guide to WDW.

You can always review my Race Recaps from the 2015 Dopey Challenge. Or Leave a Question in the comments!

Good Luck!


What’s in a Cost

I willingly paid $550 to run the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World. That was 4 days and 4 races. It also was 48.3 Magical Miles. Each Magical Mile costing approximately $11.38 for me to run. And that didn’t include all of the extras, such as travel expenses and running gear. But why is running Disney, or any other large, high-demand race so expensive? Well, because of economics–supply and demand; they have a consumer base willing to pay those prices. But let’s look into why your local marathon registration fee is priced the way it is.

I live in the great state of Ohio, so I’ll use the 5 major marathons as an example. These races have an average registration fee of $75 that increases to $115 at the expo (with an average 15,000 participating in various distances on race day). Since I am not a race director, I am thankful to have had a few race directors willing to speak to me about what goes into their costs. Once I get through a general laundry list of items, I’ll throw in my commentary on a few that I think are important.

Runner/Participant Take-Homes:

  • T-Shirt
  • Medal
  • Swag

Race Day Necessities:

  • Gatorade
  • Water
  • Cups
  • Ice
  • Energy Gels
  • Portable Toilets
  • Tents
  • Tables
  • Cones
  • Fencing
  • Start and Finish Lines
  • Mile Markers
  • Radios
  • Generators
  • Lights
  • Speakers and Announcement Equipment
  • Timing Maps, Clocks and System/Services
  • Medical Services

Race Planning:

  • Staff
  • Advertising/Marketing
  • Warehouse Storage
  • Event Insurance
  • USATF course Certification
  • City Permit(s)
  • Facility Rentals
    • Expo Location
    • Finish Line Location
  • Packet Preparation


  • City Services (Police, EMS)
  • County Services
  • State Police
  • Department(s) of Transportation
  • Traffic Engineering
  • Private Security
  • Private EMS

Other optional services:

  • Stages
  • Bus Transportation
  • Course Entertainment
  • Course Photos
  • Pace Team
  • Social Media Tracking
  • Winner Prizes
  • Festivities (i.e. fireworks)

WOW! That’s a lot of stuff, and I’m sure I left a few items out. Is all of it necessary? Well, most of it is.

Let’s start with the starting line. What’s there? Porta-pots. Yeah, you probably want that available. There also might be some fencing for the corrals to help organize the chaos at the starting line. Those might be rented, but if they’re owned then they’re probably stored in a warehouse. Rental or storage, both cost money. What about starting line festivities? Who is signing the national anthem (probably paid)? Are their fireworks or a big giant video board? Maybe there’s just a speaker system so you can hear announcements and directions.

As we move beyond the starting line, what do we see? Mile markers and cones. Those thousands of cones might be like the fencing, owned or rented. Same with the timing mats and equipment, it may be rented or owned by the race company, but it still requires a paid worker to operate. And with the timing mats comes the cost of timing chips.

Most courses are certified, because in order to qualify for the Boston Marathon, the course must be USATF certified. The top 30 qualifying races only have approximately 20% of participants qualifying. Another thing to keep in mind is that a certified course means that the distance was verified, so you won’t end up running 27.2 instead of 26.2 unless you fail to follow directions and get lost; regardless if you’re seeking a BQ, a certified course benefits all participants.

One example on the course of a few things that the race fees cover which don’t apply to every runner. Many of us bring our own energy gels instead of grabbing one from a volunteer. Some even go so far as to carry their own water or Gatorade to avoid having to use an fluid station.

Let’s consider some of the things our registration fees pay for that we don’t use and probably should. First off, unless the race is sponsored by a medical group, the first aid tents and medical team are typically going to be paid services. There might be a few volunteers, but because of legal matters, any medical treatment beyond first aid is most likely going to done by someone who is paid to be there (cuz–insurance). Next let’s just tackle the Pace Team. Some Pacers are part of a team and are paid to run the race and pace whoever wants them to, but some pace teams are entirely made up of volunteers. Those volunteers need to be outfitted so that you the runner can identify them as a pacer. Guess what that apparel isn’t free.

Speaking of apparel, there’s t-shirts to help runners identify Race Volunteers. Just think of Merchandise in general, like the race t-shirts or other race swag. And those packets you pick-up don’t put themselves together; it’s either staff putting in long hours or it’s outsourced to another company or group. And before the start line there was the Expo, that space wasn’t free! And last let’s not forget, how did YOU hear about the race? Do they have a website? They probably own the domain and might pay a web designer to manage the page. How about online registration? Some of the fees are passed on to the consumer (or you), but some are charged for just posting on their website.

Okay back to the race!

So your friends/family are lazy and don’t want to come watch you race, they’ll just receive text messages updating them on your progress, or you just have it posted on your social media. Well that runner tracking service probably costs some money. Guess what else isn’t free, having those photographers out on the course; yet still those pictures are $30/each!

When you finish, was it underneath a Banner or some blown-up contraption? That costs money. Are there stands for spectators at the finish line? Unless the finish line venue (that was rented) came with stands, those were probably an additional rental. Did you get a finisher’s medal? And that party. Some of the food might be donated by corporate sponsorships, but some of it was probably purchased. Don’t forget the winners probably receive prize money. And I did just mention sponsorships, which can help cover some of the many costs of a race but not all.

Once race is over. The party has ended. Now begins the clean-up. Depending on the city permit, or the rental agreements, they might have actually have to pay for a clean-up crew instead of relying on volunteers or their own staff. But when speaking of staff, some staff is paid, some isn’t. There might be one or two full-time positions supporting the race, the rest volunteer their time. The race director, or social media manager, might be volunteers.

Some (not all) races try to encourage elite runners to attend, offering free entry as well as VIP-like perks. Races don’t need elite athletes, but it often helps bring some attention to their race. There really isn’t any true free publicity anymore, is there? Let’s continue this theme with perks offered to “legacy” runners, which many races are starting to offer in order to encourage participants to come back each year. Both elites and legacies could possibly receive apparel and other merchandise at no cost to themselves, so that money has to come from somewhere.

I didn’t give you any “real” values to put on the costs. Let’s revisit the Dopey Challenge. I paid for 4 races. That’s 4 t-shirts and 4 medals. But wait, it was a challenge. So that was an additional 2 t-shirts and 2 medals. And some cities and companies are starting to hold various challenges and series were you can “earn” extra finisher medals and t-shirts. Take that a shirt printed in bulk costs maybe $10-15 each (cost of material and labor) and a medal is roughly $3-5 each. That’s $78-$120 just in shirts and medals. Timing services and social media tracking cost roughly $3-5 per participant which still leaves roughly $400 remaining to the race company to provide me with 4 races with water stops, energy stops, restroom areas, closed roads, traffic control, security, and first aid.

Question: Do you think your race fees are worth what you receive?




Disneyland Half Marathon Race Recap

In January, I completed the Dopey Challenge as part  of the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. To recap I wrote a four part series. This time, however, I am hoping to finish my recap in just one piece. The Dopey Challenge was one of the reasons that sent me to Disneyland Resort for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend. I participated in the 10th anniversary of the Goofy Challenge, and thought that running the 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon would be a fabulous way to complete the Coast to Coast Challenge.

Festivities for the 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon started on Thursday night with the 5K being run Friday Morning. Unfortunately, my flight didn’t land until Friday Afternoon. Thankfully my friend picked me up at the airport and I got to experience the 2 hour drive in LA Traffic to get to the Disneyland Hotel for us to pick up our packets. NOTE: This was my first visit ever to the Disneyland Resort.

There were plenty of signs directing traffic to parking and then inside to packet pick-up. The layout for packet pick-up wasn’t what was shown in the guide. The volunteers were vocal about reminding the Dumbo Double Dare participants to get our photo taken before leaving; but this would have been a non-issue if the original layout was adhered to. I, however, entered the expo with my To-Do list so that I wouldn’t forget any steps (this included the Dumbo Double Dare photo).

After packet pick-up we headed upstairs to pick up our t-shirts, grab our transportation passes, and check out the merchandise. The t-shirts were solid. But many staff members were clueless about the location for transportation passes; thankfully we found the table on our way out. As for the official merchandise, if you’ve ever read a blog on runDisney events you know that these items sell and they sell fast. Since I was arriving almost a whole day late, I had absolutely zero expectations that I would find anything. Yes most everything was picked over or sold out, but I was more than happy to find a Dumbo Double Dare car magnet to match my Dopey and Goofy Challenge magnets.

Then it was on to check-in to my hotel and crash for the evening. 3:00am came quickly Saturday morning, and before I knew it I was out the door at 4:00am, 30 minutes earlier than planned. The mile bus ride went quick. Then it was through security’s bag check which was definitely a choke point, before a half mile trek to the runners area. I contemplated a morning stop at Starbucks, but thought better once I saw the line. I arrived to the runners’ area way faster than I anticipated. Without a bag to check, it was just me wandering aimlessly. Around 4:45am, I started my yoga warm-up routine and decided against a warm-up mile. My race plan was simple. To start out slow for my first mile to warm-up and then to hold a steady yet comfortable pace for the remainder of the race. I didn’t want to run too hard with a long day planned and an even longer race the next day. Around 5:00am I started towards the start line, thankful that I was in Corral A for a change. I did seed myself towards the rear so that I wouldn’t be tempted to be swept with the crowd and run faster than intended. Since I skipped my morning coffee, I enjoyed a GU Salted Watermelon with Caffeine. This was my only energy source, besides the Luna bar I had ate for breakfast before leaving the hotel.

Despite being in Corral A, I was surprised to see so many walkers in the first quarter mile that I had to run around. And even though I had tried to memorize the course map, I was still surprised by how many miles were spent in the parks. Definitely a perk! The way the parks are lit up at night is pretty spectacular. I settled (quickly and) comfortably into my race plan, except I felt fatigued during mile 6. I came into the weekend fighting a head cold that had been plaguing co-workers. I did enjoy the last mile through Downtown Disney. That was my favorite stretch for this race, especially since the sun was coming up and I could actually enjoy the sites. Right before the Mile 6 sign, I saw two girls sporting costumes of a football team I’m not exactly a fan of, so this was my little burst of energy to finish faster than them. Childish, maybe, but I needed a little something to drive to the finish line. And just like that I had my medal, my waters, powerade and snacks. The 10k was over. I walked back to the buses, hoping to get a ride, but the next bus wasn’t leaving for 20 minutes so I decided to take the mile hike back to the hotel. A runner from Las Vegas made part of the trek with me. I love meeting other runners randomly at races, especially hearing their stories.

My post-race routine was to soak in Epsom salt for 30 minutes. I also attempted to steam up the bathroom to help with the stuffiness I was feeling. Then I wanted a nap. But sleep eluded me, so I decided to tackle the parks. I took the bus back to the parks, knowing I needed to conserve my legs for the half the next morning. It was different seeing the parks during the daytime, but still got me excited. I saw every part of California Adventure, but declined any rides. I was starting to get my post-race appetite and wanted food quick. I ate a packed snack and headed to Disneyland Resort where I immediately hopped on the train. Once I had completed a full loop around the park, I wandered up Main Street looking for souvenirs. Feeling an onset of a migraine approaching, I contemplated Starbucks but the line was so long and I worried that having caffeine later in the day than normal would prevent me from sleeping, so I talked myself out of it. I didn’t walk the entire park. I decided to head to ESPN in Downtown Disney to grab a bite to eat to help me feel better and to hydrate, which was perfect timing to watch some College Football! I thought I would give the park another stop after lunch. I stopped at Sephora on my way to pick up samples since I accidentally put my moisturizers back in the bathroom cabinet instead of my travel bag. Once at ESPN I was told it would be a 30 minute wait, so instead I headed upstairs to the bar to order food. Despite consuming half of my order of nachos and two glasses of water, I wasn’t feeling any better, and headed back to the hotel instead of back to the parks. I settled in on the couch and quickly fell asleep. The nap was just what I needed. When I woke up, I ate dinner and prepped for the next morning while watching College Football.

Disneyland 10K Results: PR!

  • 653/9044 Overall
  • 200/5791 Women
  • 46/1046 Age Group
  • 3/41 Military Women

Although this was only my second 10K, I was fairly happy with my PR and excited to have placed 3rd!

My wake-up Sunday morning wasn’t pleasant. My head cold felt like it was clearing up Friday and Saturday, but it returned with a vengeance. I brewed two cups of coffee to help combat whatever was going on. I showered and started my pre-race prep. I really wasn’t feeling well and was forcing myself to eat half a Luna Bar for breakfast and consume my coffee. I ignored the water for now, hoping I was hydrated. Soon enough it was time to head out the door. If I hadn’t put so much time and money into this weekend, I might have actually considered not running, but I knew I was going to finish even if I had to crawl.

The bus came quickly but it was not as fast of a journey as the day before. The security checkpoint was a huge bottleneck. I didn’t make it to the runners’ area and bag check until almost 4:50am. I had a bag for bag check with my 10K medal for post-race pictures. My friend was driving in and had a smooth ride until hitting the parking garage where traffic was at a standstill. I waited and consumed my GU and briefly did some yoga. Once we met up, we grabbed a few pre-race pictures before we jogged over to the start and just arrived at Corral A as it was emptying. We wished each other good luck and she was off and I lagged behind. The first 4 miles through the parks were just as magical as the day before even though slightly different. It’s almost overstimulating to have the parks and the characters and then all of the runners and their costumes. It’s a lot to take in at once, but I knew once we came out of the parks it was a long stretch of city street running. I was surprised at how many people were out to watch the race. It was amazing, and made the Disneyland Half Marathon my favorite runDisney race hands down. I lost track of the miles and of my time. When I did check on my progress I was holding a constant pace, not as fast as I would have liked, but all things considering, it was satisfying. The amount of spectators and the course entertainment made the miles go by fast. Soon I was finishing my Clif Bloks and tossing the water bottle I had elected to carry. I was shocked at the number of people in the stands at Angels Stadium, I wanted to stay and take it all in, but knew this was where I really needed to push forward. My training going into this weekend wasn’t lacking but I didn’t perform as well as I had hoped so it did worry me slightly going into the last stretch of the race. Around Mile 12, I saw Sean Astin up ahead. He was using the Galloway method, and let’s just say when he runs, it’s a burner. I set my eyes on keeping up with him and hopefully passing him. I didn’t end up passing him, but it was close and I was happy to find motivation in that last mile. I was dazed going through the medals. Stopped for all the pictures and then for ice. My ankle didn’t hurt, just felt funny, so I decided to take action. I found my friend and we took pictures before we can up with our post-race plan. I headed back to the bus for the hotel. I did another Epsom salt bath and decided to play on social media while I soaked. I ended up on the event page and was shocked at how many people complained about the (lack of) Official Merchandise at the Expo. I guess I just never expect to buy any good swag at a race expo, unless I show up when it opens; this isn’t just a runDisney expo either, some of my other favorite races will also offer special event merchandise for sale at the expo only and it sells out quick. Soon I was packing my bags and waiting for pick-up ready for my next adventure.

I spent the rest of the day visiting Santa Monica and Hermosa Beach. I got to check out Fiesta Hermosa. We ate our post-race celebratory dinner at Palmilla Cocina y Tequila before enjoying the beach and dipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Eventually we made our way to Finn McCool’s for a celebratory drink where I got to have a Magners Cider since I fell in love with Bulmers in Ireland. I slept well that night.

Disneyland Half Marathon Results:

  • 1846/15228 Overall
  • 604/9486 Women
  • 136/1800 Age Group
  • 11/105 Military Women

I was sad for Monday to come because I knew I would be leaving soon. But first we headed to Soho Yoga for Sweat and Stretch. We walked along the Hermosa Beach pier with coffee and ate breakfast at Good Stuff. Next thing I knew I was showered and headed to the airport. The trip home went quickly with short layovers. I watched THE Ohio State football game via GameCast on my flight. And then I was home.

CONCLUSION: I would love to run Disneyland again. And I hope I will. It was overall a magical experience. The only thing that wasn’t a success was despite the number of photographs that littered the course, there were hardly any pictures of me taken! This vacation was a combination first trip to Southern California and a race weekend, so there was a lot to do in a short amount of time. My training going into the weekend was sub-par (according to me), but my 10K performance was the same VO2 as the Emerald City Half Marathon I ran last year. At the same time although my half marathon performance was one whole minute per mile slower than my Glass City PR in April, it was the same VO2 as the Ohio State 4 Miler last September. I’m trying to analyze my performance based on other factors other than miles of training, such as cross-training, to see what works best for me in order to tailor my future goals and race plans to correspond with my training.

I think that was a lot just thrown out. Since this wasn’t my usual recap format, I’m sure I missed something.

Feel free to leave questions in the comments! Or ask me on Twitter 🙂

2014 In Review & 2015 Race Plans

It’s February. I haven’t recapped 2014 yet. And I’m still solidifying my 2015 Race plans. But I thought I’d take a minute and share.

2014 Summary of Events:

  • 3 Half Marathons (July, August, October)
  • 2 Full Marathons (March, April)
  • 2 – 8Ks/5-Milers (March, May)
  • 6 – 5Ks (May, June, July, November)
  • 1 – 4 Miler (September)
  • 1 – 3 Miler ON A CRUISE (February)
  • I didn’t run the Air Force Half Marathon in September. My friend failed to pick-up her race packet and didn’t tell me until 5 minutes after we were supposed to be leaving. So I bailed too. Ended up watching a rugby game and visiting my boyfriend for lunch. I call it a win.
  • I bailed on the Columbus Marathon. This was a heartbreaker. Between work, football season (ie thesis research), and just life in general, my training wasn’t on par. Plus I had decided in the Spring that this was the year I was going to take it all in and enjoy the race. With the Children’s Champions every mile, I wanted to embrace the run for more than just the race. With the unusually cold morning, I knew I didn’t have it in me to pull out a full marathon and enjoy it, so I cut it to a half. And I regretted it. I keep trying to put the positive spin on it, but I still cringe when I see that 26.2 race t-shirt I didn’t earn.
  • 3 GORUCK events (1 Light and 2 Challenges)
  • I ran my second and third fastest marathons (out of 6 to date)
  • I ran two 5Ks with sub-8:00/mile
  • I ran a sub-2:00hr half marathon

So what’s new for 2015:

1. I already completed the Dopey Challenge!
2. I ran my first 10K ever!
3. I’ve already completed 2 GORUCK events of the year.
4. I debated not running a fall marathon this year. I’m still disappointed that I bailed on Columbus last year, and I’m still recovering from my lack luster performance at Disney.
5. I have a gym membership. I’m learning to love the treadmill. Don’t worry I still have my CrossFit membership, but I need options other than running outside; a lesson I learned the hard way training for Shamrock last year.

Glass City Half Marathon.

  • Date: April 26, 2015.
  • Location: Toledo, OH.
  • Status: Registered.
  • In 2013, I ran the half. In 2014, I ran the full. So in 2015, I’m going back to the half and currently I’m training to attempt a PR.

Falcon 5 Miler.

  • Date: TBD, May, 2015.
  • Location: Bowling Green, OH.
  • Status: Registration not open.
  • I ran this for the first time last year when I decided to start running more shorter distance races. I would like to run it again (and goal would be under 40 minutes), but that will depend on the date. The race benefits the BGSU Cross Country and Track & Field teams.

Kip Boulis 5K.

  • Date: May 25, 2015.
  • Location: Perrysburg, OH.
  • Status: Registration not open.
  • My mom has run this in the past. It’s a memorial race for a fallen police officer that grants college scholarships for local high school students interested in law enforcement. I know the course well and it would be a great place to attempt a PR.

Jack Roth 5K.

  • Date: June 7, 2015.
  • Location: Bexley, OH.
  • Status: Registration not open.
  • An annual race for the ThankYoga run crew. This race is also part of the James 5k Race Series, which goes to benefit cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center at The James.

Disneyland Dumbo Double Dare Challenge.

  • Date: September 5 & 6, 2015.
  • Location: Disneyland Resort, CA.
  • Status: Registered!
  • Part of my goal for the Coast to Coast Challenge in 2015.

Detroit Free Press Marathon.

  • Date: October 18, 2015.
  • Location: Detroit, MI.
  • Status: Planning to Register.
  • I’ve selected this race as my fall marathon, but I am waiting to register because I don’t have my fall schedule yet.

OSU 4 Miler.

  • Date: October 25, 2015.
  • Location: Columbus, OH.
  • Status: Registration not open.
  • #Finishon50. This is a must for any Buckeye fan!

Races I wish I could’ve added (maybe next year?):

Cooper River Bridge Run. There’s still time for me to sign up, but I’ll just be returning from a previously schedule vacation when I would be needing to take off and head south for this race.

Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler. I’ve heard this race is beautiful, but unfortunately I have mandatory drill obligations this weekend.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. I have mandatory drill obligations this weekend.

Airbnb Brooklyn Half Marathon. This race is sold out, and I couldn’t get myself to commit to travel in time.

Nike Women’s Race Series. Last year I was disappointed when they dropped the full marathon for San Francisco, but was looking forward to the DC Half Marathon in April. For 2015, of the 20 races only one is offered in the US, which eliminates any chance for running Nike this year.

Marine Corps Marathon. I had really hoped that this would be my fall marathon, but with all the travel I’m doing the rest of the year, this trip will have to wait.

Other events in the queue for 2015:

 QUESTION: What races would you recommend? Any bucket list races you hope to cross off this year, or any annual races you won’t pass up?