Wednesday, January 28, 2009

travel day...

Woke up this morning at 7:30 to slushy snow. Not as bad as I feared, but not inspiring running weather. Decided to postpone the special running route till May, when the weather will be finer. Plus, resting my knee a bit more isn't the worst idea...

It's clearly a measure of just how far I've come that I feel disappointed that I didn't run while in NYC. I do feel that I had decent reasons not to, so I'm not super disappointed in myself -- just disappointed in general. And I'm excited about my next trip -- I'll definitely need to ensure enought time to do it.

Potentially a trip to LA in a couple of weeks -- I hope we get to stay somewhere near the beach so I can get a short run in. Then Toronto at the end of the month. That should be pretty. Maybe I'll need some Yaktrax after all!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

recovery phase

Haven't posted... and have only run once. Beginning to feel slow and creaky again, and I know I'm not sleeping as well because I haven't been getting enough -- read "any" -- exercise.

A couple of developments on the fitness front -- due to the lack of progress on the Ballard LA Fitness, we decided to go ahead and sign up for a year's membership at Olympic Athletic Club. I like the weird, higgledy-piggledy layout, I like their class schedule, I like that they're local. Sure, I don't like the fact that I'm effectively paying for other people's childcare, but, hey. Wil's worried about the pool; which may be an issue, but otherwise I'm pleased with the set up. Plus, we now have free parking in downtown Ballard...

We also went out for our first post-marathon run on Sunday. I huffed and puffed and struggled more than I am happy to admit on a quick run around Green Lake. Not fun. It was cold and snowing just a little bit, but I'm pleased that we went out and did it.

I'm in NYC now, on business, and had hoped to get out for a run today before my committee meeting -- but the late sunrise, early work start, and my growing realizzation that Midtown isn't such a great place to run meant that I didn't manage to get out. Oh, and did I mention the arctic weather? It's very, very cold. Still, weather permitting, I have an awesome route mapped out for tomorrow -- maybe. It's a little ambitious, and a little weird... I'll tell you about it if I run it. If I don't, I'll just delay that particular itinerary until I'm back in May. Weather should be warmer then...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

random race thoughts

Really just a catchall post to gather the random thoughts that didn't quite fit in the race or prerace reports... largely because I couldn't remember when some of this stuff happened.

- Right after the start, we found ourselves keeping pace with a race walker. We'd pass her (barely!) on our runs, then she would glide past us on our walk breaks. I know we're slow, but she was really booking. Every so often I would think that we had dropped her... but then I would see her mouse-eared shadow looming behind me. Scary!

- The Disney Running shirt, which was luminous orange, continued to attract attention. Two women running near us were wearing them; we were all running 5:1 run:walk intervals but our timing was a little off... so we kept passing each other on walk breaks. Later on in the race we caught up with another Disney Runner... I said "Look... it's a forum encounter" and we all laughed. And I felt extra dorky.

- Though there weren't as many of us in orange as there were in purple for Team in Training, we all cheered for each other, waved, and clapped when we saw each other. "K80K" from the forum ran the half on Saturday and volunteered at a water stop with her folks on Sunday. She was especially supportive during a time I really needed it!

- Having our names on our bibs was fantastic.

- Wearing medals after the race has been great. It's fantastic to feel a part of a community like this. A little dorky, sure, but still fantastic.

Monday, January 12, 2009

race report (sorta...)

Once the gun went off, we started running. I felt pretty dazed -- we'd been training for this for so long I could barely believe it was real. We set off at our pace, trying not to fret about the people passing us. We had decided that, since our only goal was to finish happy, we would keep our 5:1 run:walk ratio. The hardest part of that was that we had to move off to the side, out of the way, so that we didn't impede anyone. Of course, some people felt that the edges were the "fast lanes" and were upset about this. But we were relieved to hear so many watch alarms pinging around us -- clearly a lot of people were on run:walk programs. And, for the most part, people around us were well behaved, never clumping with more than 2 people.

The first mile went by really quickly... as did the second mile and third mile because we were in Epcot. I can barely remember it, but we ran under Spaceship Earth, all lit up in the dark, across a bunch of sparkly roadways, and then around the World Showcase, briefly spotting Mulan in China. Then suddenly we were at the merge point and things got a little bunchy. It was strange how the roads would widen out to as many as four lanes for a while, and then shrink down to one lane. But for the most part things went smoothly.

Around mile 6 we went across an overpass and could see the runners on the road below. It was amazing to see how far the runners stretched. It was also a relief when, as we came around the cloverleaf, we could see the long line of runners who were behind us running across the overpass. I heard a woman behind me saying "Those people are behind us? That's awesome!" Yep.

Some more semi-boring highway miles followed, including a trip past the Richard Petty experience. (It suddenly occurred to me that they should have found a way to have us run a loop of the track...). Then we ran past some of the monorail resorts, and then, suddenly, we were "backstage" at the Magic Kingdom. Wil said "Look -- Cinderella's castle!" and I got weepy. (Hey, you would too. I promise.) Then we ran through a gateway and around a corner on to Main Street USA, which was thronged with cheering spectators. This was a complete boost -- here, as with everywhere there were people, people called out our names because they were on our bibs. The first few times I didn't quite realize that the "Good job Sunny!" and the "Looking strong Wil!" were for us. But it was really energizing.

As we approached the castle, we stepped off the course for a picture. Of course, there was a helpful cast member there to snap just the right shot. Then back out for more running, this time through Tomorrowland, the back of Fantasyland, and then... through the castle. Trumpeters and princesses on the ramparts cheering as we ran through. On the other side, lots of race photographers.... including one who happily snapped photos of the people (yes, including us) who lined up to pose in front of the castle.

Then out through Liberty Square (past Goofy and Donald in patriotic gear), though Frontierland, and then we were backstage. We ran past Captain Jack and his pirate crew on the Black Pearl, which was fun. But then, sadly, we left the park and were back on nearly empty roads. I don't remember much about this stretch. At some point we stopped and took pictures with Mary Poppins (who was, indeed, practically perfect in every way). At another point we ran past Disney's garbage dump and water treatment plant. Oddly enough, hardly anyone used the porta-potties in this section.

Then, suddenly, there were animals along the course. Okay, first were Chip and Dale in safari suits... but then there were real sheep, handlers holding owls, a lovely tortoise, and more. We didn't stop -- I think we were both feeling a little tired and wanted to keep on track. A little further on we passed a very excited Rafiki, jumping up and down. Running through Animal Kingdom was odd -- it was the first time we were in a park with people who had paid to be in there rather than were there for the race. So it was the first time we faced angry tourists who weren't allowed free rein in the parks, and who had to wait to cross the course. But luckily we were still pretty early on, so it wasn't too bad. The pathways in Animal Kingdom are strange -- they're narrow and winding and made to look as if they have footprints and wheel ruts in them. So it was something of a relief to get out of the park, and run past a bunch of spectators.

Of course, the stretch after Animal Kingdom was the dreaded out and back... but in the end it was okay. We got to see runners ahead of us, and once we turned around, the runners behind us. Lots of cheering for each other. And great delight when we passed the 20-mile mark!

Things were going well until mile 22... I felt a funny twinge in my knee, which only hurt when I ran. We had talked about cutting back to 2:1, but even with that my knee wouldn't hold up. So since we were well ahead of the sweepers we decided to just walk for a bit.

Walking was interesting -- we went into Hollywood Studios and it was hard not to run down the roads lined with spectators. We seemed to get more cheers as walkers than we did as runners. People probably figured we needed the encouragement. Or perhaps we had started to look like we did at the end of our first half marathon, then the medal-giver told me "You look so strong, and so brave..."

At Hollywood Studios we got to run through the costume department, which was pretty great. And there were a lot of people moving around the park, but they seemed to have the crowd control sorted out a bit more. Right before we left the last backstage area at Hollywood Studios, we saw Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger. Let's just say that I took off at a sprint to get in line.

We had seen Pooh and Piglet in Magic Kingdom, but ran past because Tigger wasn't with them. But there he was, dancing around. Luckily there were only a few people in line, so we were at the front after only a couple of minutes. I handed the cast member my camera, and ran up to Tigger who gave me a high five and a hug. We took a quick photo and, energized, took off again. Having rested my knee for two miles, I was ready to run:walk to the finish.

The last two miles were strange -- the pathways were very narrow in parts, but we were able to move pretty easily. Running past the Boardwalk and those hotels was great -- lots of support again -- and then we popped into Epcot next to "England". Lots of jokes about beer with the spectators who were standing outside the Rose & Crown. We went up the tiny incline on the bridge across to "France" and a cast member said "This is your last hill! It's literally all downhill from here!" I kept thinking about what people had said about Epcot being a "victory lap", and really enjoyed seeing all the people clapping.

The Future World part of Epcot was a bit weirder than the World Showcase; lots of uncomprehending visitors wondering why they couldn't walk freely. But the castmembers handled it really well so we were able to run freely. Another stretch past Spaceship Earth, this time sparkling in the sun, and then it was backstage -- and an amazing gospel choir dancing and singing... and the 26-mile marker.

We started having that surreal moment again... lots of people lining the route, screaming, clanging cowbells, shouting our names. One more little turn and I could see the finish line. This of course made me cry. We held hands, raised our arms in the air, and crossed in 5:33.

Lots of hugging, happy crying, and then we moved through the finishing area. Mylar blankets? Check! (Who cares that it was absurdly hot and we ended up just carrying them.) Chip removal? Check! Medal? Check!!!!

Then we approached the refreshment tents... first a bottle of water... then a bottle of blue Powerade (my favorite!)... and then, like a mirage, a sweet old English lady approached me with a cold Diet Coke. I don't care what anyone says, it was heaven.

We ate snacks, had our finisher photos taken, and started to stretch. Ouch! Absolutely crazy pain. But, heck, we had run a marathon!


One of the nicest things about the WDW marathon is the camaraderie... everyone wearing their medals or shirts around the park and congratulating each other. It makes you feel more a part of an event. It also makes you feel like less of a dork when you have a difficult time getting up, starting to move, or going down stairs. You just get sympathetic looks.

pre-race report (sorta)

I don't know if I have the energy/stamina/dedication today to write a proper race report, so we'll see...

Tried to get to sleep early on Saturday night -- we were in bed trying to relax by 8:30; setting multiple alarms to go at 2:45, 3:00, and 3:15. All of our clothes had been tried on one last time, race bags and after bags packed, and everything laid out on the other bed. But of course we couldn't sleep. I drifted off around 10, I think; Wil was up until midnight. Then around 12:30 I woke up, and was awake the rest of the night. At least I knew everything was ready.

I tried to relax by imagining the course -- which was informed by a mixture of cartoon map images, race reports from previous runners, and extremely hazy memories of visits to Disney World.

When the first alarm went off we were both already awake, so we got up and ate our bagels, applied tons of Body Glide, got dressed, and generally shuffled around. I had chosen my Disney Running top (bright!!!), my tri shorts, and an Amphipod belt to hold gels and my camera. Wil chose his Nike Human Race top (with the number strategically covered by the WDW bib), compression shorts and running shorts on top of those, and a new belt purchased at expo to hold his iPod and gels. Over these outfits we put on our "disposable clothing" -- warm stuff purchased at our local Goodwill, that Disney will collect, clean, and donate to charities in the Orlando area. (Very cool, Disney.)

All packed, we headed downstairs to one of the waiting buses. Lots of excited folks -- some chatty, some nervously silent. Sat behind a "Sweet 16" runner -- a woman who had run all 15 previous WDW marathons and had therefore earned a special bib and award. (Again, very cool, Disney).

After a short ride to Epcot, we poured into the pre-race area. It was pretty wild to see so many people, sprawled out on the asphalt. We dropped off our bags with our post-race stuff, then headed to the "R" tent to meet some Disney Running folk. I had seen a couple of people on Saturday with shirts but was too shy to talk to any of them... so on Sunday I forced myself to say hello to Robert and Linda, among others. But we were too restless to stand around talking, so we moved to a quiet spot and tried to mellow out a little.

The lines for porta-potties were insane, but we decided to get in one -- and quickly realized that some lines were far shorter than others. On Saturday we overheard some halfers complaining about the lack of porta-potties... let me just say that there were fields of porta-potties. Hundreds of them. I mean, in an event with 22,000 people, even if you had a thousand porta-potties at the start, you would still be sharing them with 22 others. But I digress...

Then we were directed to head to the starting corrals. A volunteer was trying to encourage people to leave the porta-potty city and walk down the brightly lit path by saying "Walk toward the light.... keep walking toward the light."

We headed off on a longish walk (seriously, at least a quarter mile) down a dirt road past what felt like a Disney graveyard -- old shuttle cars, old props, giant snowflakes and other Christmas light forms, the empty booths from the Food and Wine festival, even an old Jungle Cruise boat. Very weird.

Then more walking -- A & B corrals turned off first, then the Cs. D - H just kept walking. All along the way people kept sprinting off to the side to "water the bushes". Then we got to the H corrals. The volunteers started enforcing numbers, checking who went in each corral. We walked past a lot of people, which felt very very strange. How on earth did we end up in D? I mean, I know how we did; we were projecting a 4:58 marathon, and D was the "sub 5" corral. But still. Did I mention just how far forward we were?

Even standing at the back of the folks in the corral we were very close to the stage...and the starting line. We met another Disney Runner, Crystal, and nervously chatted. I kept thinking how unbelievable it all was -- that we were there, in a starting corral, about to run a marathon. They were playing "inspirational" music -- lots of techno, plus some running-related music. Cue the 80s-tasic "the Runner" by Manfred Mann:

Yeah, you laugh now, but at the time it was perfect. And it kept popping into my head along the course. Okay, so it was silly then, too. But.

This went on for a long time. Time was both flying and dragging. People kept climbing over the fences and sprinting off to the bushes. I just tried to stand still and relax, and take everything in. I kept my warm clothes on as long as possible, trying to keep my knees warm. And, of course, we danced.

About 5 minutes before the start, we were asked to move forward. I tried to stay to the back and side of our pack, knowing that the runners in the corrals farther back would be moving forward as well. Then there were some speeches, the national anthem, a visit from Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, and then, suddenly, we were off.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

we did it!

Disney World Alert

SUNNY DELANEY, 05:33:18 @ Finish. Pace 12:42 . Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon presented by CIGNA, Disney Destinations LLC

Disney World Alert

SUNNY DELANEY, 04:05:11 @ 20 Mile. Pace 12:15 , Predicted 05:21:10.00. Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon presented by CIGNA, Disney Destinations LLC

Disney World Alert

SUNNY DELANEY, 02:39:38 @ Half. Pace 12:10 , Predicted 05:18:59.00. Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon presented by CIGNA, Disney Destinations LLC

Disney World Alert

SUNNY DELANEY, 02:00:32 @ 10 Mile. Pace 12:03 , Predicted 05:15:56.00. Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon presented by CIGNA, Disney Destinations LLC

Disney World Alert

SUNNY DELANEY, 01:00:58 @ 5 Mile. Pace 12:11, Predicted 05:19:26.00. Walt Disney World Marathon and Half Marathon presented by CIGNA, Disney Destinations LLC

Saturday, January 10, 2009

tonight's desserts

... because there's only so much tie-dyed cheesecake you can eat...

Wil's bib...


Picked up our bibs at Expo.... saw lots of half-marathoners coming back from their race and sporting their medals...that will be us tomorrow if all goes well!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

leaving tomorrow!

Ran this morning at the gym at work -- another very mellow, 5 minutes of warm up, 30 minutes of gradually increasing running, and 5 minutes of cool down. No pain or stiffness today.

Very scattered and distracted at work... though I *think* I got everything done that I needed to. Oh well... I'm on holiday now!!!

Early departure tomorrow... can't wait to be on our way!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Skipped our Tuesday run due to dark, wet, blustery weather so I snuck in a run this morning at the gym at work. Miracle of miracles, they've doubled the number of cardio machines. Now there are at least 6 treadmills and 5 or 6 ellipticals. Wild! Of course, the universal machine has disappeared, but I think most people wanted cardio. So I walked for 5 minutes, then ran nice and slowly for 30, then cooled down for 5 more. Feel pretty good, though had a little pain in my left shin during the early part of the run.

Wil and I are packed (except for a handful of things that need to be done at the last minute, like packing cheese...). It's finally feeling real!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

last long run before the marathon

We were supposed to run our last long run of the taper on Saturday, but instead spent the day preparing to pour concrete (thanks Eric!). We got up early on Sunday to get the last of the concrete and supplies, but ran out of time. R&E had symphony tickets, so Wil and I scavenged additional bricks from the 'hood and then went for our run... an easy 6 miles.

I proposed the loop that took us up to the lookout, then down the stairs, and back along the BGT to home. Wil reminded me that that's essentially uphill the entire way, except for the steep stairs. So I agreed to go in reverse... essentially all flat or downhill except for the steep stairs up. A look at my run from my Nike+ reveals that I pretty much was crawling up the stairs. But otherwise the run was good, and I even distracted myself into a couple of 9:10-minute miles.

I even feel pretty good after the run -- no real soreness.... other than in my arms, as the sudden snowstorm meant we had to postpone the pour (again!!!) and move all the concrete (again!!!) -- some 35, 60-pound bags of concrete...

Walked up to R&E's place for cheesy dinner... in the snow. Still can't believe that it's so snowy outside.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 wrap-up, 2009 goals

Running-wise, Wil and I had a lot of ups and downs in 2008. I had a few minor injuries, including a couple of bouts of tendonitis, some seriously skinned knees, and a strained patella and rotator cuff from a bike crash. Luckily, nothing was too serious to keep me out for more than a week or so at a time.

I ran 588 miles this year -- far enough to get me from Seattle to Lake Shasta in California. Some months were better than others. I spent part of June recovering from tendonitis, but also pleasantly distracted by Wil's folks' visit. I only managed to log 30 miles -- one fewer than in February! But October and November were fantastic -- lots of miles and felt good for most of them. December? Well, in December I got sick and we had crazy crazy snow. Still, 44.77 miles is nothing to sneeze at! Of course, it reflects that fact that we missed most of our super long runs...

The Walt Disney World marathon is only 10 days away, which feels really soon! But I'm looking forward to it. The excitement of a very big race expo, laying out our race gear, trying to sleep, getting up at 3:00, getting on a bus at 4:00, meeting the Disney Running gang in the "Arrrr" Tent before the race, heading off to the corrals, and then waiting.....

I feel like I've memorized the course from reading race reports and staring at the course map. The "out-and-back" on Osceola Parkway, which I once fretted about as being the most boring part, I've learned to rethink as the "part where you get to see other runners and cheer them on". Also the "death march through Epcot" at mile 25 is now the "victory lap through Epcot". Well, at least that's what I'm telling myself now.

So. Goals for 2009... finish the WDW Marathon. Take time to let ourselves recover -- most likely by not doing anything more strenuous than walking around the parks for a week after the race! Register for the 2010 Goofy a.s.a.p. Rehab my shoulder so that I can swim again. Get back on my bike and start riding at least to downtown in March. Cut back to a nice, steady 5 miles 3x/week running schedule for the rest of the winter... but get ready to ramp up again in Spring.

It's going to be a great year... and a great new decade. Welcome to my 40s!