“A person should set his goals as early as he can and devote all his energy and talent to getting there. With enough effort, he may achieve it. Or he may find something that is even more rewarding. But in the end, no matter what the outcome, he will know he has been alive.” - Walt Disney

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wait, HOW Long 'Til We're There?

HOW many days???
141 DAYS!!!

After dozens and dozens of phone calls, endless minutes on hold, and with the help of several friends, by the end of the day on Monday I had a secured a dinner reservation at the yet-to-be-opened Be Our Guest restaurant in the newly expanded Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World for the Monday night after the marathon!
In what has become my family's post-Disney-race-tradition, we will spend the Monday after the WDW Marathon at the Magic Kingdom, showing off our medals and soaking in a little Disney "magic."  We usually indulge in a "splurge" meal at one of the table-service restaurants in the park that day as well, and in recent years that restaurant has been The Crystal Palace.  But this year we figured what better way to celebrate earning our newest Disney medals than in Disney's newest restaurant?  There has been so much media surrounding the new Fantasyland Expansion that my excitement has been building for years.  Can't wait to experience the new Beauty and the Beast restaurant ourselves!
As the fervor of excitement over actually getting the reservation on the day and time we wanted waned, it led to thoughts of the next trip...and checking countdown...the next visit to the mouse isn't for another 141 DAYS!!!  Sadness.  No real time for sadness, however!  There's lots going on between now and then.  And I know that our next awesome Disney trip will be here before we know it!
Do you have any destination-race traditions?  Something you have to do or someplace you have to go pre- or post-race when you're running out of town?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Flexibility is the Key

No, I haven't been doing my "Yoga for Runners" like I should be, so I'm not talking about physical flexibility (although that is an important aspect of running).  What's just as important is mental flexibility and the ability to adapt and modify your plan based on changing circumstances.  I'm not exactly known for going with the flow, though I have been trying to get better about that - and let me tell you, last weekend pushed me a bit further out of my comfort zone.  Saturday's long run proved to be the perfect storm of circumstances that required some serious flexibility on my part.

The Dallas area has had an outbreak of West Nile Virus this summer that led county leaders to implement aerial pesticide spraying over the weekend.  This spraying was due to take place near my group's normal running routes, so our group leaders moved our run to a local multi-purpose trail close to my house (yay for me!).  Twenty miles on the schedule meant some serious mental and physical preparation throughout the week (fueling and hydrating properly, etc.)  It also means  meeting at 4am to get ahead of the heat, but overnight Friday, storms rolled in and it thundered and lightninged through the early morning.  As 4am rolled around, many of us were sitting in our cars in the parking lot, all prepped for a long run, and watching the bright flashes above us, knowing what was coming.  Finally, the call was made - prolonged lightning meant no group run.  My pace group talked it over and decided to get at least 10 miles in on our own this weekend, and we'd re-schedule the 20 miler for next weekend.

So I headed home, and checked out the weather radar - they were still forecasting strong storms into the late morning and possibly even afternoon.  With my weekend plans, I still needed to get my miles done that morning...which meant...turning to the treadmill - blech.  I decided to break the 10 into two 5-mile segments, with a bathroom/fuel/water break inbetween.  So, armed with a new plan and my Gymboss Interval Timer instead of my Garmin, I popped The Sound of Music into the DVD player, and "took off" on the belt.  It wasn't fun, but I got it done, and with the reprise of "Climb Every Mountain" resounding in my ears, I pushed in the last couple miles and ended up with a negative split for the second half of the run!

So the key to last weekend, for me, was flexibility.  So many things were different that if I hadn't been able to make adjustments on the fly that it all could have fallen apart.  Change of location (trail instead of neighborhoods and the lake), change of distance (10 instead of 20), change of running mode (treadmill instead of road), and change of company (DVD instead of my running group).  That's ALOT of changes! 

I'd say I rolled with the punches pretty well, though, and am proud of myself for making the best of it!  Plus, I have to admit to a little extra pride that I got in some decent mileage, even though it was tough to do it on the treadmill, when the rainy weather was just beckoning me to come back to bed at 5am on a Saturday morning...  And I'm fortunate that our group schedule has a little wiggle room, so switching the 20 miler weekends should work out okay.

How flexible are you in your running?  What happens when your plan hits a snag?  Do you have a backup plan in place or do you make changes on the fly?  How do you adjust?  Is there flexibility in your training?

Last Week in Review:
  • Monday - strength - 30 min bootcamp;
  • Tuesday - short run - 2.2 mi @ 60:30 intervals;
  • Wednesday - strength - 30 min bootcamp;
  • Thursday - short run cancelled (not feeling well);
  • Friday - rest day;
  • Saturday - long run - 10 mi @ 1:1 intervals; 2:28:28; 14:51min/mi avg;
  • Sunday - rest day.