Inspired by WDW Marathon Weekend

Yesterday I had only planned to do a short 3.5-mile run.  I’ve been alternated my long runs every other week and did my longest 6.5 miles last weekend.  Well after watching so many people run in the Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend races, I decided to get out there and push myself.  Let’s try for another mile and get to 7.5!

It was a brisk 45 degrees and sunny out – perfect running weather!  I started the first mile and as usual was struggling.  The first mile always seems to be the most difficult for me.  My body is stiff, I can’t seem to find my pace, and I know I have a long road (literally!) ahead of me.  The task seems daunting, but I push through.

I use the MapMyRun app on my phone, which tells you your time and pace at every mile. I was surprised when I heard I was already at one mile – that seemed to fly by!  I was able to get in a groove and just kept going.  I felt great and before I knew it I was at my halfway point where I stopped to stretch for a few minutes and have a Gu Gel (mint chocolate – yum!).  I then turned around to make the trek home and look at the amazing sunset I had to keep me entertained!

All was going well until about mile 5 when my calf muscles started to tighten up.  By mile 6 they were burning and I had to stop for another stretch to make it all the way home.  I know everyone is aware of this, but I can’t stress enough how important stretching is and how it seriously saves me on all of my runs.  Feeling better, I made it home at a really great pace and actually felt good and energized after those long 7.5 miles.  Well, that was until I stopped moving.

Ok, now let’s talk about fuel for a second.  As you know, I started off last week doing a cleanse that allowed for very little protein.  By mid-week I had no energy and began adding lean proteins like chicken, pork, tofu and egg whites back into my diet.  I immediately felt better and was able to resume my training.  Yesterday, I had plenty of protein before my run, but I don’t think I ate enough food overall for a 7.5 mile run.  Since this is my longest to date, I’m not really sure how much food to eat to get me through those miles.  The Gu Gels I had before I started and again at the halfway point got me through the run, but once the run ended I felt famished.  To the point I thought I was going to be sick I was so hungry.

This has never happened to me before and it freaked me out a bit.  I immediately ate a banana, but that didn’t do much.  I was craving something with more sustenance – carbs.  The only bread I had was in the freezer, so I popped that bad boy in the oven to defrost and moved on to eating an apple with peanut butter.  The apple helped, but it wasn’t until I shoved a big hunk of bread in my mouth that I felt better.  Later I made pasta with a ton of chicken and broccoli for dinner and finally felt normal again.

I’m interested to hear from all of you experienced runners out there on how much you eat before your longer runs.  Fueling up for these runs has been a source of contention for me.  I’m never sure on how much or how little to eat!  Incorporating Gu into my runs has definitely helped keep my energy up, but maybe I’m burning through it too fast.

Overall, I am extremely happy with my run.  I continue to surprise myself with my progress.  I was motivated by all of the people (over 56,000!!) who ran in the various races in Walt Disney World this weekend and they are what kept me going.  Watching them cross the finish line makes all of this training seem worthwhile because I want that experience, I want that sense of accomplishment, and I want that medal!

I would like to personally congratulate some of my friends who finished various races this weekend and tell you all how proud I am of you.  You inspire me every day!  So join me in a round of applause for:

  • Jay, Jillian (with Baby D), and Suzannah for completing the 5K
  • Cliff, Lynne, Niki, and Todd for completing the Half Marathon!
  • Amanda, Katherine, and Sarah-Irene for completing both the 5K and the Half Marathon!
  • Ed and Katie for completing the Half Marathon Relay!
  • Carrie and Kevin for completing both the 5K and the Marathon!
  • And last but not least, the rock stars of the weekend…Daniel, Jenn & Nicole for completing the crazy Dopey Challenge: 5K, Half Marathon & Marathon!  Truly Amazing.  Look at all that Disney bling!!
Nicole (@njoysiscaretti), Daniel (@DanielWanderman) & Jenn (@disrunner)
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