Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Goofy's Race-And-A-Half Challenge: A Race Report - Part II

Dang, yo. There has been all kinds of craziness happening in the life of Irish Cream as of late. But before I let too much escape me, I wanted to go ahead and complete my Goofy Race Report. I mean, it HAS been nearly a month since it took place . . . yeesh!


Race morning once again came nice and early, with Wilson and I rising sometime around 3 a.m. We got ourselves ready, chowed down on some breakfast and were out the door before you could say, "Goofy." Once we stepped outside, it hit us . . . it was EFFING COLD OUT. OMG. The temps, as predicted, were hovering in the 20s with a "real feel" in the teens. Ouch. Luckily, I was wearing the warmest $4.00 size-XXL Grinch flannel pj pants EVER over my race clothes. As hideous as they may have been, they were truly toasty. I may or may not have shed a tear when I had to throw them away prior to the start . . . but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We zipped down I-4 and made it to Epcot in no time at all. Then came the difficult part . . . dropping trou in sub-freezing temps. I contemplated holding it, but finally sucked it up and went. By the time Wilson and I made it through the porta-potty line, it was just about time to head to the start area, knowing from experience that it was a good 20-minute walk to get there. Wilson hit up gear check on the way, and then we wandered through the dark with the masses of runners gearing up to run 26.2. I don't know about anyone else, but I always find the moments just before the start of a marathon to be SO incredible. I think part of it has to do with the fact that marathon training tends to be a lesson in solitude; that is, unless you are lucky enough to have lots of marathon runners in your life. But you all know how it is . . . you train for months and are more likely than not called "crazy" on countless occasions during those months. Then you finally make it to that start line and you are surrounded by people just like you. How incredible does it feel, knowing that those tens of thousands of people went through exactly what you went through to get there? It is truly awe-inspiring.

Anyway, we moseyed over to the start area, thinking we had oodles of time; only, once we got there, we realized that my assigned corral (Corral D), was actually part of the FIRST wave thanks to a split start. Wow, good thing I looked into that BEFORE the race. Oops. Talk about unprepared! Considering the National Anthem had already been sung while we were en route to the start area, we knew we didn't have much time before the gun went off. We found the corral and Wilson immediately hopped the fence, stumbled and fell. Luckily, he just scraped up his palms a little bit, but it was still scary. I, after seeing this, insisted on heading up to the actual entrance to the corral. After all, someone as clumsy as me has NO business hopping fences! This was a good idea in theory; however, once I saw the line of people at the entrance to the coral (where they were very diligently checking bibs) I went into panic mode. Ultimately, I decided to live on the edge and do a little fence-jumping myself. Somehow, I made it over that fence with the assistance of a kind runner man and found Wilson. Whew! We'd made it!

Shortly thereafter, the same video and fireworks from the half-marathon the day before went off--and holy Deja vu--it was like I was in my own personal version of Groundhog Day! Only this time, I had Wilson with me, video-taping everything that happened with his trusty Flip camera. Before we knew it, we were moving! And holy crap, it was weird. Our feet were literally frozen after being out in the cold for so long prior to the start. And let me tell you, it was really hard to run with ice blocks for feet! Luckily, within a mile-and-a-half or so, they seemed to thaw up a bit. Of course, shortly thereafter--somewhere around the 1.8-mile mark--I had a bit of an "incident". We were running through the entrance gate area for the parking lot at Epcot, and Wilson dropped back to take a video of the scene. I kept looking behind me to see where he'd escaped to since it was PITCH black, and I was convinced I was going to lose him. All of a sudden, BAM!!! I was on the ground. The collective gasps all around me were enough to let me know that it looked REALLY bad. Somehow, though, I managed to spring right back up onto my feet. I looked back again to see what had led to my fall . . . a frickin' speed bump! Incidentally, there WERE gate attendants hanging out all around, telling us runners to watch our steps. But I didn't really notice that until AFTER I'd fallen, since I'd been so preoccupied with trying to find Wilson. Oopsies. Just as I turned back, Wilson came running up and said, "Did you just fall down?" Yes sir! We were off to a GREAT start.*

Mile-1: 10:54
Mile-2: 11:14

As we hit the Mile-2 mark, I assessed the damage of my fall. I'd tweaked my left wrist a bit, my palms were scraped up and my knees were REALLY banged up--especially my right knee. In fact, I could tell my knees were so torn up that it was best not to pull my pant leg up and check. I figured it was better to wait until after I finished the race before I took a look. Still, I was okay . . . and I counted my lucky stars that such a hard fall hadn't caused a more serious injury. On we ran, albeit slowly, as I tried to get back into some kind of a groove. This, however, was easier said than done . . . especially since the course seemed REALLY crowded; probably because just after mile-3, the split start groups had come back together, so there were twice as many people as there had been for the first three miles. We jogged on, passing people whenever we could, if for no other reason than to get a little room to breathe!

Mile-3: 10:48
Mile-4: 11:13

By Mile-5, I was in pain. My right knee was throbbing with every step and I could tell that it had swollen up pretty good. In fact, I was so preoccupied with the pain that I don't even remember much about the next few miles. We kept moving (slowly), but I was NOT a happy camper. Wilson tried to cheer me up, and I did my best to oblige, but I was really hurting. I started to wonder how on earth I would make it through 20+ more miles. Another crazy thing I started noticing around this point was that the aid stations had turned into all out ice-skating rinks. Apparently the spilled water was freezing over, making for some pretty hazardous conditions. Wilson and I would slow WAY down every time we made our way through an aid station, just to be on the safe side. The last thing either of us needed was ANOTHER fall!

Mile-5: 11:33 (gel break)
Mile-6: 10:26
Mile-7: 10:38

The next few miles were truly miserable. We were on service roads outside of the parks, I was hurting pretty badly and we still had 3 miles to go before we would make it to the Magic Kingdom. In fact, by this point, I had developed a hint of a limp. I remembered an article I'd read once that said you shouldn't finish a run/race if you are limping. So I focused on trying to NOT limp. On top of the knee issue, I could NOT for the life of me get comfortable temperature-wise. I would get warm and push my sleeves up, only to get cold two minutes later and push the sleeves back down. I'd unzip my half-zip top, only to zip it back up 30 seconds later. It was more than a little irritating. But still, I am nothing if not stubborn . . . and knowing I had TWO medals on the line was more than enough to keep me going. On we schlepped, praying for the Magic Kingdom to come soon!

Mile-8: 10:09
Mile-9: 10:23
Mile-10: 11:24 (gel break/Wilson pee break)

Finally, we hit the Mile-10 mark and entered the Magic Kingdom. Perhaps I was simply grumpy on account of my fall and subsequent injuries, but for some reason, it just didn't seem as cool as it had the day before. I kept telling Wilson how much cooler everything had looked in the dark. Luckily, he seemed to really enjoy the mile that ran through the MK despite my foul mood. He stopped on countless occasions and took videos of the various characters and attractions. Of course, this made me nervous, since I was convinced I was going to lose him. And knowing what bad shape I was in, I was pretty sure that I'd be done if I lost him. But somehow, we made it through the Magic Kingdom without losing one another.

Mile-11: 10:20

After exiting the MK, we embarked on another LOOOONG trek between the parks. I started to get really excited about making it to the half-way mark. But still, it was uber crowded, and a lot of the roadways we were running on were super narrow. The one good thing was that there was really a lot of crowd support. I can't tell you how many times I heard people yell out "Go Goofy!" when I ran by (the Goofy Challengers had unique bibs). This gave me a boost every time. In fact, I'm not sure if it was the crowd support or what, but somewhere near the half-way point, my knee even started to feel a little bit better.

Mile-12: 10:15
Mile-13: 10:22

We ended up crossing the half-way point at 2:21:30, and to be honest, I freaked a little bit. As much as I knew we were trying to take the race easy and have fun with it, I thought back to my secret wish to PR in the marathon. At this point, it looked like that goal was out the window, considering I'd crossed the half-way point almost ten minutes faster during the Chicago Marathon (my prior marathon PR). Oh well, guess I'd just have to have fun with the rest of the race. But not long after I'd resigned myself to the idea, Wilson and I got separated at an aid station just past mile-14. Wilson stopped to get some water, and I kept going but slowed to a walk to allow him to catch up to me. When several minutes passed and I still hadn't seen him, I knew we were in trouble. And to make matters worse? Wilson had been carrying one of my gels in his shorts pocket. Crappers. Eventually, enough time had passed that I was convinced that Wilson must have passed right by me without me noticing . . . after all, he WAS wearing the same thing as 90% of the race field: black tights with black shorts over them and the white long-sleeved race tee. I took off in an attempt to catch up with him.

Mile-14: 10:45 (gel break)
Mile-15: 10:35

As I ran on, I came to realize I probably wasn't going to find Wilson. In the past, I would have been beyond bummed about this. In fact, I likely would have allowed it to ruin the race for me. But instead, I thought about how awesome it would be if I finished strong despite so many hiccups early on. After all, I was still feeling pretty good. The knee had been downgraded to just a dull ache. I was getting a little bit tired, but I told myself that if I just made it to mile-18 before walking, that would be good enough. As I ran on, the course cleared up a little bit, making for a much more pleasant running environment. That, and the sun came out and felt awesome beating down on us. I was finally back to my happy running place :)

Mile-16: 9:59
Mile-17: 9:53
Mile-18: 9:17

While I had promised myself that I could walk if I made it to mile-18, I got to that point and I actually WANTED to keep running. My last split had been pretty stellar and it had felt REALLY good. Plus, somewhere around this point, we got to run through Animal Kingdom, which was a definite highlight for me. For whatever reason, I was passing people left and right as we ran through Animal Kingdom. That, combined with the awesome cheering of some Animal Kingdom employees propelled me on and gave me a huge boost. Oh, I should also mention that just before entering the Animal Kingdom, I had managed to procure an on course gel to replace the one Wilson had run off with. That was a HUGE relief for me. It wasn't a Roctane, but it would do. As I stopped to gel up after leaving the Animal Kingdom, I came up with a new strategy--a bit of an experiment, really. Basically, I wanted to push myself and see how long I could hold on. I decided that if I could just hold on until the 20-mile mark, I would be thrilled; but in reality, I started to think that maybe--just maybe--I could hold on until the end.

Mile-19: 10:14 (gel break)
Mile-20: 9:05

I crossed a timing mat at the Mile-20 marker, which prompted me to check my time at that point. I looked down and saw 3:30:59 staring back at me. Holy. Crap. I realized at that point that if I could hold on and keep my pace at 10:00 miles or faster, I could actually earn myself I nice new marathon PR along with my two shiny medals! This motivated me like nothing else. I thought of how awesome it would be to say that I ran the Goofy Challenge and PR'd at both distances. Suddenly, what had started as the ultimate pipe dream was within my reach . . . and I knew right then and there that there was no way I would let it escape. Miles 21-22 passed pretty quickly as they consisted of a nice out-and-back stretch. By this point, I felt the strongest I had felt all race. As I hit the turn around point, I kept my eyes peeled for Wilson coming in the other direction. No luck, but I WAS passing people left and right, and that felt AWESOME. I looked down when we hit the Mile-21 marker and saw my first sub-9 split. I was CONVINCED it had to be wrong. How on earth had I just pulled off a sub-9 split at mile-34.1 of the Goofy Challenge?!

Mile-21: 8:57
Mile-22: 9:14

On I went, and before I knew it, I'd arrived at Hollywood Studios. This was super exciting, as I knew the remainder of the course would be in/around the parks. The crowds were thick and crazy supportive. Everywhere I looked runners were slowing to a walk, or pulling off course to stretch, but I was feeling really strong. Sure, I was tired . . . but I had a PR to earn, thank you very much! I stopped for one last gel break during Mile-23, just to give me an extra boost throughout the last few miles. But from that point on? I was all business. I didn't so much as stop to take a sip of water during the last 3-4 miles.

Mile-23: 9:24 (gel break)
Mile-24: 8:52

As I approached the mile-25 marker, I did get super excited about the possibility of seeing my favorite Redhead and Spike, who were stationed somewhere in the area, complete with balloons and bright yellow posters. Somehow, though--and I still don't understand how this happened--she never saw me, and I never saw her. Perhaps I was a little more out of it than I thought by that point? Whatever the case, once I made it to somewhere around mile-25.5, I knew I must have missed them. Thus, what else was there to do but to pick the pace up and push myself toward the finish? As I did so, I decided that PRing wasn't enough. I REALLY wanted to finish in less than 4:30.

Somehow, despite everything that had gone down, I managed to pull off my fastest mile of the day during that last mile. I have NEVER had enough energy left in a marathon to do that . . . and holy crap, was it an amazing feeling to go flying towards the finish line! I started hurting pretty badly with about a half-mile to go, but I was so close I could taste it. There was no way I was backing down now! I crossed the line in 4:28:21 and smiled the biggest smile EVER.

Mile-25: 9:18
Mile-26: 8:47
Last 0.52 (according to Garmin): 4:23 (8:24 pace)

I could NOT believe what I had accomplished. Somehow, I had pulled off a negative split by nearly 15 minutes . . . after falling on my face . . . after having run a half-marathon the previous day. Even to this day, I do not know what possessed me to push it so hard that day. I only hope whatever it was sticks around and joins me in future races!

Once I finished, I snagged my mylar blanket and my marathon medal . . . and then I made my way to the Goofy tent to collect my third Goofy medal. I was so proud, I was almost brought to tears. To think that just a few years earlier, I had thought I'd never be able to run a marathon . . . and here I was, a Goofy Challenge finisher! It was awesome to say the least. I had my official finisher photo taken, grabbed some food and then tried to figure out what to do about finding Wilson. I figured the best idea would be to wait for him outside of his assigned gear check tent, knowing he'd have to collect his things after finishing. But I waited . . . and I waited . . . and I started to worry that he might have finished ahead of me. So I made my way over to the appropriate family meet-up tent where he had mentioned we would meet his mother after the race. I looked everywhere, but there was no sign of Wilson. Damn. I stood, shivering for a good 20 minutes before he finally came walking up. And holy crap was I happy to see him--he had the car keys in his gear check bag! I begged him to let me go to the car despite the fact that we had not yet located his mother. I was just SO COLD, I couldn't bear to be outside another second! Luckily, we were much more successful at finding the car than we had been the previous day. We hopped in, BLASTED the heat and I attacked my food baggie with everything I had left in me :)

As I began to thaw out, I began to realize just how painful my knees were. Ouch. I finally took a peak at them, only to realize they were both cut up and bruised pretty badly . . . and my right knee was pretty darn swollen. Yowsers. I couldn't believe I had gone on to run a PR on those suckers! Ha. Once Wilson finally got in touch with his mother, she came and congratulated us and took a couple photos . . . then we headed back to the hotel, anxious to take a hot shower and get some hot food in us. We opted for some "dirty food" from Applebees, as Wilson called it (beer, artichoke dip and burgers--yum!). I figured that after running 39.3 miles in two days, I'd probably earned it :)

After stuffing our bellies nearly to the point of discomfort, we headed back to the hotel and vegged/napped for the remainder of the day. Other than my banged up knees, I actually felt great . . . not even a hint of muscle soreness. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? I don't know, but I might just have to hop on the back-to-back long run bandwagon come my next training period!


Whew! Okay, so now that that's out of the way, I have a big announcement coming up soon. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook already know, but let's just say that it's quite a good one :) Thank you again for being so amazingly understanding about my recent absence from the blogosphere . . . I should be back soon, I promise! And while my Google Reader is far too out of control for me to pretend like I can get caught up with everyone, I should at least be back to commenting very soon. I've said this a million times, but wow, I've missed you guys! Until next time . . .

*Unfortunately, Wilson JUST MISSED catching this episode on video. If only he'd kept taping for another few seconds, I'd have video evidence of my spill. Oh well, there's always next time!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Goofy's Race-and-a-Half Challenge: A Race Report - Part 1

First of all, let's go waaaay back . . . back to July 7, 2009 (also known as the day I went temporarily insane and decided to register for the Goofy Challenge at Disney World). I had NO CLUE at that point in time that I would soon quit my job and embark on this big ol' journey of mine to Orlando. Don't get me wrong; it worked out quite nicely given that I didn't have to worry about travel expenses or taking time off. But let's just say that if I would have known I'd be training for Goofy while working out pretty intensely 5 days a week (at times, twice a day), I never would have registered. The fact is, I was signed up, I'd paid the money . . . and DARN IT, I was going to get those three medals if it killed me!

Wilson and I hit up the Expo on Thursday evening in a desperate attempt to beat the crowds. Turns out this was smart thinking, as we were in and out of there in under 45 minutes. We first hit up the Goofy Challenge check-in area, where a kind gentleman presented me with my bibs, chips and some Goofy souvenirs; I then signed my life away to him and he placed a silver wristband around my wrist. As he did so, I couldn't help but silently wonder to myself whether this wristband's secondary purpose was to save time when I inevitably ended up in the hospital, dying of exhaustion and leg cramps at some point on Sunday. But I smiled and thanked the man just the same, and we quickly moved on, hitting up the marathon check-in area (for Wilson) and the t-shirt & goody bag pick-up area (Goofy Challengers got THREE long-sleeve tech shirts--SCORE!). Race gear in hand, we headed straight for the exit, stopping only twice on the way . . . once to purchase a couple pairs of gloves and once to grab some free Larabar samples.

Fast-forward 24 hours to Friday. I went to school as usual and was semi-bombarded with questions by my classmates. "How far do you have to run?" "What's your strategy?" "How are you feeling about it?" "Are you insane?" Somehow, though, I didn't feel nervous. Sure, I put on the whole "I don't know how it'll go; that's a lot of miles to run in two days and I really just want to have fun with it" act. But deep down inside, I was feeling confident. So confident, in fact, that I allowed a silly thought to creep its way into my mind. I'd thought about it in the past, but had always brushed it aside as ridiculous. But again, there it was teasing me: "Maybe . . . just maybe . . . I could pull off PR's in both the half-marathon AND the marathon. How epic would THAT be?" I was really starting to believe that it might just be a possibility.

Well, wouldn't ya know, that confidence faded the second I got back to my hotel room. Perhaps it was the bad news that was presenting me with. Perhaps it was the phone call in which my mother attempted to talk me out of running the races. Perhaps it was the twinge of soreness I was feeling in both quads. Or maybe it was simply the fact that the magnitude of what I was about to do had finally hit me like a load of bricks. Whatever the case, I was REALLY nervous. And my anxiety only grew as the predicted temps dropped lower and lower . . . It was official; The Disney Half-Marathon and Disney Marathon would mark the two coldest races I had ever run. Temps for Saturday were predicted to be in the 30s (with a "real feel" in the low-2os) and freezing rain; and temps for Sunday were predicted to be in the 20s (with a "real feel" in the low-teens). Can we say BRRRR?! And Wilson and I had brought no running tights with us to Orlando . . . FRACK.

After debating for hours about whether we should try to go out and find tights or not, we finally decided to hit up Target. It was a no go. FRACK SQUARED. Just when I had convinced myself that I would be fine in capris, we drove past a Sports Authority. Round two of desperately seeking running tights. And? We were in business! We both found what we needed, sprinted for the check-out line and booked it out of there without so much as trying them on. Well, I'll bet you already know where this is going . . . but we got back to the hotel, tried on our tights, and mine were HUGE; a size medium that fit like an XL. CRAPPERS. Luckily, Wilson's fit him fine . . . but I had officially given up. Capris it would be.

We ate dinner, I packed all of my race stuff AND my school stuff (I was going to have to go straight to school from the race), and FINALLY, we hit the hay around 9:30 p.m., knowing full well that our 3:00 a.m. wake-up call was coming soon.

And did it ever. I woke up, drank some coffee, got dressed and body-glided, ate some oatmeal, drank some water, checked my bags one last time to make sure I had everything . . . and we were out the door by 3:45 a.m., on our way to Disney for Day 1 of the Goofy Challenge! We got there without issue, parked, and I immediately hopped on line for the porta-potties. The lines were long, but nothing too bad.

Before long, it was time to leave Wilson behind and head towards the start line. Little did I know that it was a good 20-minute walk to the start line! I tried to hustle . . . but it was tough to do so with so many people sloooowly making their way over, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the race was about to start. Finally, I felt like we were starting to get close. I attempted to pull my throwaway pants off while walking/jogging, which--for the record--I would NOT recommend! I am lucky I didn't face plant . . . but somehow, I got those suckers off and resumed my jog to the start. All of a sudden, fireworks went off, indicating the start of the first wave. Considering I was in the second wave, I knew I needed to hurry. Luckily, I made it to the start with a minute or two to spare . . . and then another explosion of fireworks went off, and we were moving!

The first few miles FLEW by. There's not a whole lot to report, as frankly, there wasn't a whole lot to see! These miles were pitch black, and we were running on some nice, flat highway. Not real exciting. Despite some crazy crowds and narrow roadways, I really had to focus on keeping my pace down. Running was feeling basically effortless; a little TOO effortless. But still, I knew I had to stick to my plan in order to stand a chance at "fresh" legs for the marathon the next day. On I trotted, singing to myself in my head.

Before I knew it, we were over 5 miles through the race, and we were rapidly approaching the Magic Kingdom. I felt my heart flutter as we entered . . . it was very similar to the first time I saw the place when I was a kid--only WAY better! The sky was still pitch black and everything was just lit up in the most incredible way possible. There honestly just aren't words to describe it; it was . . . magical :) As I ran through the park, I couldn't help but smile from ear to ear like some kind of goofy fool! It was just SO MUCH FUN! I can say without doubt that this was my favorite running memory EVER.

As quickly as we entered, though, we were spat back out of the park for another six miles or so of uninteresting highway running. The only highlight of the section from mile 6.5-ish to mile-12 was getting to see Wilson around mile-8. By this time, I was still feeling great, and I jumped up and down like a hyperactive child when I saw him. Ha. I've NEVER ever felt that good at that point in a half-marathon. I think even Wilson was shocked to see me in such high spirits! Granted, I was running pretty easy . . . but still, I was on PR pace!

By mile-9 or so, the fun was over. The sleet/hail mixture that had plagued us through the first 90 minutes of the race had turned into freezing, liquid rain . . . and I was SOAKED. And also? I was REALLY EFFING COLD. I knew the smart thing to do was to keep my pace slow; but honestly, I just couldn't take it anymore. I was freezing my arse off! I struggled through one last slow mile, but then I officially gave up on keeping my pace down once I hit the Mile-10 marker. By that time, my one and only goal was to finish up as quickly as possible and get into some dry clothes and the heated car!

I booked it through the last 5K to the finish, slapping Goofy's hand right before crossing at 2:08:17 . . . a PR by over 7 minutes. Not bad, considering I held myself back for 80% of the race!

Splits were as follows:

Mile-1: 10:14 (holy crowded start, Batman)
Mile-2: 10:33 (road narrows . . . even MORE crowded)
Mile-3: 9:43 (AH, open space! Oops; slow down, Irish!)
Mile-4: 9:58 ('atta girl)
Mile-5: 10:07 (good; keep it there)
Mile-6: 10:06 (YES. I am a pacing goddess!)
Mile-7: 9:42 (watch it . . . )
Mile-8: 9:42 (watch it . . . )
Mile-9: 9:35 (WATCH IT . . .)
Mile-10: 9:53 (gel break; whew, back on track!)
Mile-11: 9:06 (EFF IT! I am COLD and WET)
Mile-12: 9:11 (I seriously can't WAIT to finish)
Last .1: 7:21/pace (Ah, sweet finish line! It is SO nice to see you!)

After finishing, I got my mylar blanket (WARMTH!) and my medal, and headed to the Goofy tent to have my wristband swapped out. I then grabbed a Powerade, had my finisher photo taken and headed straight for the family meet-up area, opting to skip the food tent. Yup. THAT'S how cold I was, homies . . . so cold that I didn't give a rat's ass about food. I don't think that's ever happened before! I met up with Wilson, he took a quick video of me (will post it as soon as I figure out how--ha) and then we headed to the parking lot . . . time to go to school for 7 hours of Sports Performance education! Of course, this was easier said than done, considering we couldn't remember where the hell we'd parked! We're city people . . . we don't think about things like that! Ha. A really nice runner offered to let us sit in his car to warm up if we didn't find our car soon; but thankfully, we found it (turns out it was like four cars down from the nice runner dude).

Amazingly, despite this delay, we still had time for a Starbucks stop on the way to school. I got a breakfast sandwich and a big ol' piping hot Americano, which I had a VERY difficult time consuming. Turns out shivering uncontrollably makes it very tricky to eat/drink without spilling all over yourself; and chattering teeth don't help matters any either! DAMN, I was cold! I had wisely changed out of my wet top in the car, but my wet sports bra was still on. Luckily, I had brought a change of sports bra with me . . . so I changed that sucker as soon as I got to school. MUCH BETTER! The dry clothes combined with the toasty classroom felt like Heaven. Only problem was . . . all I wanted to do was SLEEP!

Somehow, though, I made it to our hour lunch break without dozing off. I downed my lunch in approximately 5 seconds and then put my head down to sleep and had the most delightful nap in the history of naps. I woke up 55 minutes later to what was basically the BEST NEWS EVER. Because of the shit weather, our instructor was going to let us out of class 2.5 hours early!! We typically would have had a sports performance workout during that time; but Paul had pity on us and let us leave at 2 p.m., promising we would make up the time during the coming weekend's session. You guys, I am telling you; I have never been so happy in ALL MY LIFE.

Wilson picked me up at 2:00 and we headed back to the hotel where I showered (finally), iced, rocked my hot pink recovery socks and basically lazed around until we finally hit up the Macaroni Grill geezer-style (at like 5:30 p.m.) for a good old fashioned carbo-loading meal. We returned back to the hotel, got stuff ready to go for the next day, and hit the hay by around 9 p.m. Let me tell you; I slept like a BABY.

To Be Continued . . .

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Guess Who's Goofy?

Um, you guys? There are seriously just not words to describe how amazingly the Goofy Challenge went. Despite a million and one reasons why it could have been a disaster*, I somehow managed to pull off PR's at both the half-marathon (2:08:17) AND marathon (4:28:23) distance. I don't even understand how that's possible. I'm actually thinking I may wake up soon and realize it was all a dream! I don't have the time (or the energy) at the moment for a full recap . . . but I just wanted to let you know how it went, since y'all have been SO incredible with your support as of late (despite the fact that I haven't been able to reciprocate that support--sad face). I will try my best to get a recap up in as timely a fashion as possible. But seriously, thanks again for being so awesome. I love you all! :)

*Including, but not limited to, my worst face plant ever at mile-1.8 of the marathon

Monday, January 4, 2010

Irish 2.0

It's official . . . I've entered the 21st century, folks. New decade, new Irish! :) But don't worry, I'm still just as nerdy as in 2009!