Dumbo Double Dare Recap


After waiting since we signed up at Marathon Weekend in Walt Disney World in January, we finally got to experience the Dumbo Double Dare over Labor Day weekend.  By the end, we earned 4 medals: Disneyland 10K, Disneyland Half Marathon, Dumbo Double Dare, and Coast to Coast.  I could start this recap discussing the horrendous lines at the bib pickup and the madness at the expo surrounding the RunDisney merchandise, but I decided to leave that out.  The people we got to see and meet, and the surroundings of Disneyland, outweighed the temporary frustration that marked the start of the weekend.  And hey, I got some cool new RunDisney New Balance shoes!

The race weekend started with the Disneyland 10K, which followed the 5k by about 45 minutes, which made getting to the corrals another experience in poor cattle herding.  Still, the course through California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom was great.  Having a course that was contained mostly in the parks made it a really cool race with lots of opportunities for character pictures.  You can see a few of our pictures here.  We took it easy on the 10k, thinking we would save a bit for the half marathon the next day, and the heat was not our friend.

A few of our friends waiting to start

For the half, we woke up and made our way toward the corrals at about 4:30.  This was about an hour and a half later than we get up at the Walt Disney World Races.  After making it to the corrals, the typical RunDisney energy was in the air.

And we're off!

And we’re off!

World of Color

Cars Land

Phineas and Ferb!

We headed out past the Grand Californian Hotel and around the back of California Adventure. Those first few miles took us through California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom.   The cast members, even the custodial team, were there to cheer the runners on as always.  This really helps make for a great experience.

Into Disneyland

Now we’ve run through both Castles!

Afte exiting the Magic Kingdom, we were on to the streets of Anaheim, headed out to the Honda Center and Angel Stadium.  On the way, we were treated to hundreds of classic cars, hula dancers, dance teams, bands, and cheerleaders.  It made the trip much more enjoyable, despite the heat.  Angels stadium was much better than I had expected.  The hundreds of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were very supportive and made for a great atmosphere in the stadium.

Angels Stadium was at Mile 9 mark, and we passed on the iced donuts being handed out on the way in.  After running around home plate, it was back toward Disneyland.  We ran through the backstage area of California Adventure, around the back of the Disneyland Hotel, past Downtown Disney and through the finish line.  All along the way, we had cheer groups helping us along.  I also saw my favorite sign of the whole event (but did not get a picture):  “$175 for a half marathon — only $37.50 to go!”

Loved the Corvettes!

Honda Center

Into The Sun

Into Angel Stadium

Great View!

Almost Done!

One of the coolest parts of the race for me was getting to meet Joe Taricani of The Marathon Show. I asked for a picture with him, and ended up being interviewed!  I got to talk a little Boilermakers with him.  Not only did I get a picture out of it, that photo also made it into his video recap of the race.

With Joe of The Marathon Show!

You know you are a real runner when you get one or two of these . . . not the medals.

You know you are a real runner when you get one or two of these . . . not the medals.

I end the post with that video from the Marathon Show.  I think it gives a great recap of the race, and I really like Joe’s thoughts on the race and RunDisney at the end.  I am honored to be in the picture at the 7:25 mark.  Be sure to visit Joe and The Marathon Show at http://www.TheMarathonShow.com.

Until next time.  Only 4 more to go this fall!

Disneyland 10K Teaser

Not much time for a full review post yet, but the weekend is off to a great start as far as the running goes.  The lines are another story, but I will get to that in another post.  Below are a few of the views from the 10K this morning.  It was a bit warm, but the cloud cover helped a great deal.

The runners were awesome, the cheering crowds were great, and the volutneers were top notch, as always.  I will get up a better review later on, but hopefully this is a good start.  Half marathon tomorrow to finish the Dumbo Double Dare!

My cool running partners!

My cool running partners!

Pre Race

Pre Race

Yes, yes he did!

Yes, yes he did!

Cinderella and her Prince Charming at California Adventure

Cinderella and her Prince Charming at California Adventure

Main Street USA Disneyland

Main Street USA Disneyland

Daisy was a little fresh this morning!

Daisy was a little fresh this morning!

We did it!

We did it!

Fall Race Season – Run ALL The Races!

Well, it is almost that time of the year:  Fall race season.  (NEVER thought I would be saying that a couple of years ago).  I am currently training for my second Walt Disney World Marathon in January.  Luckily, many of the half marathons through the end of the year coincide with long training runs.  I know, the long runs are supposed to be long and slow.  However, it is much easier to get pumped for a long run when it is a half marathon with a couple thousand other folks and all the excitement that goes along with it.

At our first couple of half marathons, we thought all those folks running long warm ups of a mile or more were crazy.  Well, now we are those people, except we will be running 2-5 miles extra before a couple of our races to meet our long run distance goal.  And yes, we will run that before the race, because who wants to keep running once you get to the finish line?  I just hope the weather cooperates.

So, we will be running at least 5, count ’em 5, half marathons by the end of the year.  I look back at how daunting the thought of that first one was.  I thought there was no way I could do it.  Now, if all goes as planned, we will have run a marathon, a 10 miler, two 10Ks, and 7 half marathons this year.  That is crazy stuff.  Crazy fun stuff!

This summer marks our second year of running.  It is amazing how far we have come and how we have been able to stick to it.  We are not fast and hang out mid-pack, but we sure have fun.   It serves as a reminder that if we put our mind to it, there really is nothing that is out of reach.  If a larger-than-most guy like me can run a dozen half marathons, anything is possible.  If an anti-runner like me can be convinced to run, and eventually be converted to a runner, anything is possible.  If I can successfully complete that WDW Marathon in a respectable time in January, anything is possible.

So here’s to the fall race season.  Hopefully it is filled with new adventures, new goals, and a lot of fun.

SoMo Marathon

What I Learned About Summer Running

I would put forth a wonderfully informative and useful post on tips for running in the heat and humidity.  Unfortunately, I haven’t figured that out yet.  So, instead of providing insight into steps to take to make running in the heat an enjoyable experience, I thought I would share what I have learned about running in the heat from my trials and errors.

1.  It sucks.  There is no way around it.  Sweating starts immediately, and if you’re lucky, your own smell does not catch up with you for a few miles.

2.  It is a good way to lose weight (temporarily).  I like the temporary feeling of being a few pounds lighter following a good heat run.  Of course, I put the pounds back on once I re-hydrate.  But it feels good for a little bit.

3.  It gives you something to brag about.  Sure, I was out there huffing and puffing, wondering if I would make it back, and whining in my head the whole time, but I was out there.

4.  Things will only get better.  It makes those runs in the winter, when the temps are in the teens and the wind is howling seem a whole lot more enjoyable.

5.   Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  This part is pretty self explanatory.  I think I quit sweating about mile 17 in the Walt Disney World Marathon.  I have told myself “never again.”  We’ll see.  This summer is putting me to the test.

6.  It could be worse.  The highest temperature in July in my area was 106 last year, and the average high was 95.  This year the average high so far is 87.

7.  I love it — when I’m done.  It gives a sense of accomplishment.  As I said above, at least I am out there.  At least I am putting myself through it.  A few years back, getting out in the heat was the last thing I wanted to do unless in involved a lake.  Now,  I feel a bit guilty for wimping out at hitting the treadmill to stay a bit cooler.

Maybe one day I will have a post on tips for running in the heat.  Until then, I will rely on others for that.  Until then, I will continue learning through trial and error — mostly error.

So apparently it’s CRAZY hot in NYC.  I better brace myself after this mild London weather.  See you soon, NYC! 

Running – R.U.T.S.

I am not currently in a running rut.  I enjoy it as much as always.  I am as motivated as always.  I look forward to getting out for that run as much as ever.  I have 5 races* on the training calendar.  I suffering from what I call R.U.T.S. however.  Running Under Time Stresses.   Most every runner suffers from this condition, the chief presenting symptoms of which are  difficulty fitting in that run for the day and the need to rearrange training schedules.

I see it as a good thing that I am having this problem.  For me, it means two things:  (1) Work is busy, which in my line of work is a good thing, and (2) I actually am anxious that I am having trouble finding the time to run.  If I was not anxious, I would be worried.  It would mean that I don’t have the motivation to continue to get out there and run.  Luckily, that is not a problem at this point, especially with those 5 races down the road.

When suffering from RUTS, the picture above explains the cure perfectly.  When you don’t have time to run, make time.  Most everyone has at least an extra 30 minutes a day.  For me, that generally includes taking my luch time to get a run in, or a late night treadmill run for my wife, or a mid-afternoon work break for a couple of my co-workers.  On weekends, finding the time for those long runs can be more difficult.  This weekend, it involves arriving at an out of town meeting a few hours early and finding a local running route for an 8 miler.  Finding creative ways to fit in that next run is part of the fun of it.  Just like life, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if everything fit neatly into a predetermined schedule.  Easier?  Sure.  More fun?  Probably not.

For that reason, I try not to complain too much when I am having trouble fitting in that run.  If that is the worst problem of my day, then I can call it a good day.  However, that Dumbo Double Dare is less than 60 days away, so making that time is becoming more important.  

*5 Races:  Dumble Double Dare (Disneyland), Mill Race Half Marathon(Columbus, IN), Southernmost Half Marathon (Key West, FL), Louisville Sports Commission Half Marathon (Louisville, KY), Walt Disney World 10K+Marathon.

I Race Because I Am Lazy. . .

I am lazy.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.  I know this about myself.  This is precisely why I run half marathons.  Having that set date on the calendar when I have to be able to run 13.1 or more miles keeps me running.  That race date is the carrot on the end of that stick of training runs.  That race date interferes with the lingering urge to skip a long run or take a week off here and there.

This is why the summer is not such a great time for my running.  Most of the races are early in the spring and in the fall.  If I am not working toward a race, it is so much easier to procrastinate and rationalize my way out of a 3 miler.  It is very easy to get into a rut and fall out of a groove.  “I can just get back into the groove when the training schedule for the next race begins,” I tell myself.  It is so easy to skip a run when those summer temps hit the 80s and the humidity is stifling.  As I write this, I am dangerously close to a rut, but alas, there is an 8 miler scheduled for this weekend, thanks to the Dumbo Challenge.   Thanks to summertime, there are also some lovely 90 degree temperatures scheduled for this weekend.

I am not sure what to make of the lack of motivation currently.  When I first started running, 8 miles seemed like a huge deal.  Now, not so much.  That is progress, I suppose.  I never imagined I would think 8 miles was routine.  I have certainly come a long way.  Yet, even though I have been running going on two years, and I still find that I require the motivation of an upcoming race to keep me going.  I do not want to crash during a race (again), and that is my motivation.  I have yet to make running a habit, although I do get a bit antsy if I don’t run for a few days.  I know that without the “threat” of an upcoming race, that edginess is easily overcome by laziness.

The real victory will come when it can’t be.  When I can finally call running a habit.  When I can finally say I run simply for the fun of it, for the health benefits.  Until then, I’ll take what I can get.  If it takes 5 or 6 half marathons a year to keep me running, so be it.  The races are a blast, and I have a great running partner along for the ride.

My Inner Ninja

Nothing about my running is stealthy.  Dangerous?  Maybe.  But, I will never be mentioned in the same sentence as “agile,” or “ninja-like” unless it is an exercise in antonyms.  That doesn’t stop me from dreaming. . .

Running has helped me find out a lot about myself.  I have an inner strength that I was never really sure was there, and that I never fully challenged.  I never thought of what to call it.  I discovered a song recently that gave it a name:  My Inner Ninja.  The song, appropriately titled “My Inner Ninja,” is tops on my playlist right now.  It has a great tempo to run to, but it also has motivating lyrics that apply to life and running.  Bad habits?  Drop ’em.  Problems?  Deal with ’em.  Back against the wall?  Fight your way out.  “Never dwell in the dark, ’cause the sun always rises.”  Once you find your inner ninja there is no stopping you.  A bit cheesy?  Sure it is.  But it is motivating knowing that you have that strength inside you to conquer anything.  You just have to find it, and use it.  That’s the hard part.   Running has helped me push away my inner sloth, and has uncovered at least part of that inner ninja.  I am looking forward to continuing on that journey to full ninja-hood.

The quote below feels particularly applicable to my running.  As I head into the Dumbo Double Dare in less than 100 days, I am sure this one will pass through the Ipod dozens of times.  Each time it does, my pace will pick up, if only for those three minutes. . .

It’s a feeling that you get in your lungs when you run
Like you’re runnin’ outta air and your breath won’t come
And you (uh) wheezin’, gotta keep it movin’
Find that extra (uhn) and push your way through it

I’ve had bad habits but I dropped em
I’ve had opponents but I knocked them out
I climbed the highest mountains
I Swum the coldest seas
There ain’t a thing I’ve faced that’s been too much for me

Nobody’s gonna see me comin’
Nobody’s gonna hear a sound
No matter how hard they tryin’
Nobody’s gonna bring me down

Nobody’s gonna see me comin’
Nobody’s gonna hear a sound
No matter how hard they tryin’
No stoppin’ me since I’ve found
My inner ninja. . .

The Party Run – Bay To Breakers Recap

Bay To Breakers

This ain’t RunDisney, but that’s OK.   I had no idea what to expect, but I knew going in it was not going to be a wholesome experience.  It was, however, a blast.  It had all the positivity of a RunDisney race, with a heaping helping of mischief thrown in.  This is a bit of a long post, but there was a lot to see.

Our experience started with the Greater Body Expo.  I was not too impressed with the expo, but then again, I am admittedly no nutrition nut. Much of the items at the expo were along those lines.  After an extra mile walk or so back to our hotel (we forgot our bibs, which were required to pick up a shirt), we got our t-shirts so we could avoid the lines at the finish.   But really, most folks don’t run the Bay To Breakers for the expo experience.

After spending the previous day in wine country, we got up early and headed to the start line in our super-hero finest.  They were expecting 30,000 runners, so we headed out a bit early for the 7 am start.  Surprisingly, getting into the corrals went perfectly smoothly.  We got to our corral about 30 minutes before the start and met up with some of my wife’s friends.

Waiting and People Watching

Waiting and People Watching

I think I may have pulled a neck muscle looking around while waiting in the corral.  It was a people watcher’s dream.  We got to see all the other runners making their way to the other corrals in every kind of costume you could imagine:  from simple to elaborate, fully covered to fully naked.  I expected to see some folks au naturale, but I saw more than I bargained for.  It was funny to see how those going sans clothes really didn’t care who saw them.  They really embraced it.  I found this out right away.  I was snapping a picture of my wife’s friend trying to surreptitiously get a gentleman in the background.  He obliged by stepping in for the photobomb, and even posed for a pic with my wife and her friend.  I will spare you the posed picture, but you get the point from the “photobomb.”

Not shy. . .

Not shy. . .

One other tradition in the starting corrals is the tossing of tortillas.  They were flying around by the hundreds.  The fly surprisingly well, but act like banana peels on the ground after being trod upon by thousands of runners.


This was a great Manny impersonator – and two photobombs.


The Corral Filling Up


Ready to go!

Following a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombings, we were on our way.  Just as getting into the corrals went smoothly, so too did the start.  We were in corral C, and things moved quickly toward the start.  Next thing we knew, we were on our way up Howard Street, knowing that Hayes Street Hill awaited at Mile 2.


As the run began, there was certainly an air of celebration about the race.  The spectators were great, and our fellow runners were a moving party.  One gentleman even ran with us for a bit to share an off color joke about Superman and Wonder Woman, and the Invisible Man.


The “F It Up” Cheerleading Squad

Those around my age remember the show “Full House,” and the iconic shot of the row houses in San Francisco in the opening of that show.  Until I signed up for this race, I was not sure where those houses were.  Ever since I found out they were at the top of Hayes Street Hill, I had been looking forward to seeing them in person.  Usually, I would be dreading a hill that rises about 200 feet in a little over a half mile.  Not so much this time.  I was looking forward to seeing the legendary Hayes Street Hill party.


@ The Base of Hayes Street Hill


It kept moving, even with all these people


Out of nowhere. . .


We found Waldo on Hayes Street Hill!

As we neared the top of Hayes Street Hill, we met the famous Salmon centipede group.  Each year, this group (tied together like all centipede entrants) starts at the finish line and runs upstream to the start line.  They were already on mile 6 when we hit mile 2.


The Famous Salmon running upstream to spawn. . .


Parties all along Hayes Street


Finally! Our legs were burning a bit by this point.  I don’t remember all those porta pots on Full House. . .

Hayes Street Hill lived up to its reputation.  The excitement of the spectators was awesome, and really motivated the runners.  I am sure there were thousands who never even made it past Hayes Street Hill, instead deciding to stay for the party.

Not us though.  The good thing is that it was all down hill from here.  We plodded on toward Golden Gate Park.  Along the way we saw Elvis, the running of the bulls, more super heroes, ballerinas, fairy tale characters, more naked folks, and even a tree.  I was quite impressed with the tree.  This outfit had to be heavy, and it had the history of the tree in Bay To Breakers on the back.  Best I could tell, the tree was going on 30+ years of appearing in the race.  The bands along the course were great as well.


This had to be heavy!


The Sharks were out. . .


The run through Golden Gate Park was gorgeous. . . and down hill. . .and shady. . .


We meandered through Golden Gate Park and headed toward the finish.  At about mile 6, my calf muscle decided it was done.  After a short break to try to convince it otherwise, we entered the home stretch.  I really like the last couple of miles of this race:  Down hill, shady, tree lined, even a waterfall.  For us first timers, the last corner is great, as you leave Golden Gate Park and suddenly the beach appears.  It is truly a gorgeous finish.

100_2640a 100_2641

We made it to the breakers.  It was a bit chilly for a dip for me, but that did not discourage a lot of others.  We made our way through the finish area.  I had a flight to catch, so we did not get to hang around much.  We made our way to the shuttle back to the start line.  I could only imagine how “fragrant” the shuttles got as the day wore on.

On the way back, we saw throngs of people in costume.  They were not part of the race, but were making their way to Hayes Street Hill for the party that would last all day.  We all thought that if we were a bit younger, we, too, would be heading to Hayes Street.  But reality set in, and I headed for the hotel to get a shower.  My flight home awaited.

There is no bling to show, as they did not give out medals this year.  However, I will go away with a lot of great memories of this run.  It was really a blast.  Check another off the bucket list.


Random Running Thoughts Of No Particular Usefulness

I couldn’t come up with anything coherent,  so I thought I would fire off a few random, useless thoughts on running.

1.  You know technology has progressed, and that it has you in its clutches, when you use your GPS watch to get data on how far you walked when you mowed your yard.  1.44 miles in the back yard. I would have had a faster pace, but my yard was out of control.

2.  I don’t know whether to be excited or a bit scared for Bay To Breakers in a couple of weeks.  I think I will be ahead of most of the debauchery, and I am on a rather tight flight schedule to get home, but I want to see the “sights.”   Might need to have an R rated recap for that one.  It should be really interesting.  Ryan Hall, the US Half Marathon record holder is running.  So are folks like this:


3.   Motivation of the day #1:

“Have you ever felt worse after a run?” – George Sheehan

I don’t think I have ever felt worse after a run.  I have felt plenty bad.  Beat down.  Winded.  Drained.  Bloodied.  But never worse. . .

4.  Speaking of costumes.  It was fun to wear a bit of a costume in the KDF Mini-marathon.  I am not fast enough to look like a serious runner, so who knows, a costume just might be added to the rotation here and there for the larger races.  Heck, I wore the same shirt for 4 of my first 5 half-marathons.  A little variety is in order.  It is fun trying to think of something new.

5.  Motivation of the day #2:

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”  – George Sheehan

Works for me.  I gave up beating the other runners long ago. . .But I also signed up for another marathon because the last one kicked my butt.  That little voice said to try again.

Fun Run – KY Derby Festival Mini Marathon Recap

Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon

I was really looking forward to the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon.  It would be our 7th Half-Marathon, it was our first repeat half, and we had some cool costumes to run in.   Also, it was our first time to get together with a lot of other runners since the tragedy in Boston.  I was not sure how it would go, since I had not trained very well since the Run The Bluegrass half at the end of March, and my wife’s sporadic hip issue reared its ugly head in our last long run.

To add to the uncertainty, the morning of the race started off on a bad note.  I had returned from a business trip to Chicago the night before, and was not as organized as I would have liked.  As a result, I forgot my Garmin.  I felt like I was flying blind.  We use the run/walk method by distance, not time.  Luckily I had my Ipod, so I decided to just wing it and use the time on that to estimate our walk breaks.  It turned out OK though, we ran nearly identical splits each mile.   I still felt a little naked though.

We made it to the start line a few minutes before the start.  My wife and her friend went whole hog on their outfits, while I was not nearly as put together for this one.  We were taking our Bay To Breakers outfits for a trial run.  We had decided a couple of months ago to go with the super hero theme.  I, of course, was Super Man, my wife was Wonder Woman (naturally), and her friend was Bat Girl.

Ladies love the abs. . .

Ladies love the abs. . .

Dynamic Duo!

Dynamic Duo!

Folks immediately asked for pictures with Wonder Woman and Bat Girl.  Superman was the photographer of course.

Pre Race Fun

Great Pre-Race Atmosphere!  And plenty of port-a-pots!

The race started right on time, with great weather and an awesome, boisterous crowd cheering the runners.  The first six miles flew by as we took in the sights.  The first couple of miles runs through downtown Louisville with lots of interesting sights, incuding the world’s largest Louisville Slugger bat, and this:

Yup - it is all there. . .

Yup – it is all there. . .

After leaving downtown, we headed out towards Churchill Downs, following tree-lined streets filled with cheering fans.  Some offered high fives, others offered their rears for runners to smack.  Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.  We got a lot of great comments on our outfits, though I realize most of them were for the ladies. . .

I think lots of folks were jealous of Super Man.

I think lots of folks were jealous of Super Man.

At mile 8, we entered Churchill Downs.  We hit the infield as some Derby hopefuls were getting their final works in on the track.  I remember last year at this point, I was really feeling it.  This year I felt much better.  Wonder Woman took her turn at the camera, and I also got a blurry picture of one of the horses on the track.  It was really a treat to get to run through the track while the horses were working and Derby preparations were underway.

Famous Twin Spires

Famous Twin Spires, and abs of steel. . .

More Great Athletes @ Work

More Great Athletes @ Work

At mile 9 we exited Churchill Downs, and headed back down the tree-lines streets toward the finish.   The last 4 mile stretch is mostly a straight shot to the finish, slightly downhill.  Once again, these last few miles felt better than they seemed last year.  Wonder Woman’s hip twinged a bit, but we powered on toward the finish.  Baseball picture day and a soccer game later in the morning wouldn’t wait for a little hip issue.

Tree-lined streets

Tree-lined streets

Keeping our steady pace, we rounded the corner by the Yum! Center and headed to the finish line at Slugger Field.  The crowd lining the street was great, and you could hear the roar at the finish.  At about mile 12 we saw some folks from the Reeve Foundation taking on the last mile of the race.  They were truly inspiring.  Also, thoughts of Boston came to mind at this point and gave that extra boost to the finish.  We powered to the finish, and completed #7.  6 minutes faster than last year, but not a PR.  But hey, we got to meet Elvis at the finish.



Once again, the folks at the Derby Festival put on a great race.   It was fun, well organized, and had awesome crowd support.  Oh, and there was this to finish off our race day:

Spanx, thong, and a dollar. . .

Spanx, thong, and a dollar. . .Bay To Breakers, here we come! Love the looks of the passersby!

The next day, the organizers put on their first Kids’ Races, with distances from 50-800 meters.  The little guy grumpily completed the 50m, while big brother flew through the 400m.  They got their own finisher medals, and were proud little guys.  It was a good way to finish off the race weekend. I look forward to the 2014 version.  Hopefully it will be #12 or so.

Just like daddy!

Just like daddy!

Flying to the finish!

Flying to the finish!

More Bling!!

More Bling!!