Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

1 Corinthians 9:24

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Looking Ahead

Well after a longer than intended hiatus, I'm back, just as preparation for the fall really gets going. In regards to the previous post, I think I'll take a page out Mel Brooks' book and leave the last post without a Part 2, at least for the foreseeable future. I expect I'll come back to my trip as I get closer to the Rome Marathon next March.  After Shamrock back in March, I started developing hip pain.  I ended up doing two and a half month of physical therapy to fix the problem.  As I have been training for my fall races I think it worked, thankfully.  But, aside from the two races that were on the calendar, I was basically on the shelf for about three months.  As a result, I lost both a fair amount of fitness that had been built up through Walt Disney World and Virginia Beach as well as much of my motivation to train.  Once I got back from Europe, I found that I didn't really have much to say, that is until the last few weeks.
In the last month, I've started training again.  I didn't really have a choice if I wanted to be ready for Marine Corps at the end of October; and truth be told, I'm still a bit concerned that I may not have enough time to sufficiently train.  However, what's starting to get me jazzed for the fall is the release of medals for several of the races that I'm running.  My Fall racing season kicks off with a trip to California. I fly out two weeks from tomorrow for a trip to the Reagan Library, a day of driving Route 66, two nights of Baseball, two days and nights at Disneyland and, oh yeah, a 5K and a Half Marathon.  First up is the inaugural Awesome 80's Run:

I found this race through one of my ROTE friends who live in California. It's a 5K/10K race at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend.  Once I saw the medal, I just couldn't pass this race up. This is the first race of a series that is rolling out all over the country.  For future races and cities, check out this site:

The next day is the Disneyland Half Marathon: The Disneyland Half is the second leg of my Coast to Coast Challenge.  Disney offers a third medal for those who complete a half or full marathon in Orlando (as I did in October) and a half marathon in Anaheim. I’ve been to Disneyland once before, back in the summer of 2008. At that point, the Disney California Adventure expansion was still four years from completion, so I only visited the flagship park.  The Disney property in Anaheim is much smaller than the property in Orlando.  As a result, most of the race is off property. The course runs through both parks before heading off through East Anaheim.  The course passes by the Honda Center (a.k.a., the Pond) where the Anaheim Ducks play; and it passes through Angels Stadium where the L.A. Angels of Anaheim (wordy much?) play, with a run on the Warning Track inside the stadium. The run returns to Disneyland and finishes at Downtown Disney in front of the Disneyland Hotel.

Back on the east coast, next up is the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half Marathon on September 16.
I wasn’t really impressed with the VA Beach Rock N Roll medal last year.  I am very impressed with this one. The course does a loop through the city center, passing Independence Hall then running along the Schuylkill River before finishing in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Having looked at the elevation profile, I think that this is the flattest road race I will have ever run. 

My third race of the fall, alas, has not, and likely will not release its medal before the race, as it a smaller race.  On September 30, I’m running the OCNJ Half Marathon.  I’m really looking forward to this race. My times running in Virginia Beach have made me love running at the beach.  However, unlike Virginia Beach, Ocean City NJ has a real wood boardwalk.
Two weeks later, I have my last half marathon before the Marine Corps Marathon on October 13 in Baltimore. This race should prove to be a good indicator of my level of fitness going into Marine Corps.  As the medal indicates, the course is very hilly.  I’ve run the 5K at the last two Baltimore Running Festivals and I’m finally graduating to the Half Marathon.  These races also have the best race shirts I’ve seen at any the races I’ve run before; due to the fact that Under Armour is the primary sponsor of the Running festival.

The week after the Baltimore Half is the Army Ten Miler. Instead of a medal, they have a finisher coin. I’m not sure what to do about displaying it.  Any suggestions would be helpful. This is my final long run before the following week’s Marine Corps Marathon.

Finally, on October 28, all the preparation is done and I will run the Marine Corps Marathon, a race that I never would have thought I could/would run. This is the first race that I have serious concerns about finishing.  I have to finish the first twenty miles at a six hour marathon pace.  This is much faster than either of the marathons I have run to date.  Now WDW was not conducive to running a fast race because of all the distractions on the course, and the pace I took Shamrock was much slower because I was dealing with hip issues.  I should be good to go.  The reason for the concern is that the two cutoffs for the race are based on gun, rather than net time.  In the next ten weeks, I hope to have ramped up my pace enough to finish.  If all else fails, I’ll be counting on my ROTE chums to get me over the bridge in time.

Once I’m past MCM, my weekends largely go away. There are a couple of small non-medal races in December, the Jingle all the Way 8K in Washington and the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler in Baltimore.  But most of my weekends will be consisting of two runs a half long run on Saturday and a long run on Sunday.  But this is all for a good cause as it is working toward my first Goofy Challenge.  For those who don’t know, the Goofy Challenge consists of running the Disney World Half and Full Marathons back to back.  I’ve also decided to throw in the WDW 5K for good measure.  These are the medals that have had such a big deal made about them over the last few weeks:

Going almost unnoticed between the release of the half and full marathon medals, the 5K was released late last week.  I really like it. I wasn’t sure if I would want to wear it with the other medals. I can say that I will have no problem wearing this one solo, at least on the Friday of the 5K, at that it will stand up well with the other medals.

Through a runDisney facebook campaign, which to my mind was a fairly laborious process, the new medals for the Half and Full Marathons were revealed.  I won’t further belabor the point for those unfamiliar with this (and for those who were following nothing more really needs to be said). For any of the uninitiated who are curious, check out “The Great Medal Caper” on the runDisney Facebook page. 

The Donald medal that came out of the process was pretty similar to the 15th anniversary medal that was released last year. Basically, they took last year’s medal, removed the color and set it against a circular background. I was one of the ones who liked last year’s design, so I’m happy that the design was incorporated into the new medal design. Though a part of me wishes we had gotten a running Donald similar to the running Mickey we’ve had for the last few years.

The main event of “The Great Medal Caper” was the 20th Anniversary Marathon Medal.  The final designs were leaked in the days leading up to the formal reveal.  Based on what was leaked, I was not confident about the medal, truth be told I’m still not over the moon yet (though I expect to be as soon as I can see it in person. The race medal was billed as something unique and spectacular before the reveal.

The medal designers certainly accomplished the unique part; at least as far as individual Disney races are concerned. The medal is a double spinner. The Mickey Head spins, as does the ring of text between the inner Mickey and the outer ring. I am optimistic that once I see it in person I will get very excited about it. However, ultimately, this isn’t the medal I expect to be most excited about; because it isn’t the medal that by the time it is placed around my neck that I will have been working toward for the previous two and a half years.
The first long distance race I ran was the 2011 WDW Half Marathon. I planned to finish it, go back to the hotel, clean up, and go about my business with Disney Vacationing.  I did not expect to do anything like that again.  However, once I finished I realized that I was going to run the marathon the next year. The next morning I got up and went to watch the end of the Marathon. At that point, watching the people make the final turn out of EPCOT, I realized that I could run the marathon.  It didn’t take long to formulate the full plan of 2011 Half, 2012 Full, and 2013 Goofy. And so, here I am, gearing up to do something that, about two years ago, I would have said you were nuts if you told me I’d be where I am. However, I won’t be doing it alone, for two reasons.  First, a friend of mine is going down with me, running the races and splitting a room at Port Orleans Riverside with me.

However, the second reason is that since last year, I’ve been making connections with many new friends through ROTE. These connections have enabled me to run with fellow ROTErs in Virginia Beach and earlier in the summer in the Baltimore 10 Miler.  I expect to have the chance to run with a subset of them at each of the races in the fall except for the OCNJ Half and possibly the Jingle all the Way 8K (as of right now, no one is on the roster).  I will not be difficult to spot many of us as we will be wearing snazzy new red tech shirts (the color in the photo is a little off). This is going to be a fun fall.