Posts Tagged With: hal higdon

Dopey Challenge Training Done & A Look Back!

I can’t believe the training is finally finished!  I basically started back in the late spring.  Then in the dead of summer the real training began.  I followed the Hal Higdon plan as closely as I could.  Except for a couple weeks when my knee was achy and so I had to swim instead of run.  And a few days when we were under a coat of ice and I had to run on the treadmill instead of outdoors.  I hope that means I’m ready!


Hundreds and hundreds of miles done!  I added up the entire past year and I ran somewhere between 1050 – 1100.  Pretty good!

But as I prepare to get Dopey, I realized I never did a race recap of last year’s Disney Marathon.  Oops, my bad.  To be honest, I didn’t have too much drive to write it because I didn’t have a great performance.

Me and my sis running this past year's Disney Marathon.  4 miles and and doing OK.

Me and my sis running this past year’s Disney Marathon. 4 miles and and doing OK.

While the race experience was wonderful, the weather was not.  It was so fargin hot and humid, that it was a real struggle to keep moving.  In fact, I didn’t even look at the race photos until last night…

Check the Sweat!  I was drenched!

Somewhere near mile 18, not doing OK.  Check the Sweat! I was drenched!

I’ve bought my share of Disney race photos before, but I didn’t have any good ones this time around.  Although this one gave me a chuckle…

I don't know who that guy is, but it looks like we planned to wear university shirts.  haha!

I don’t know who that guy is, but it looks like we planned to wear green university shirts. His was a little generic.  haha!

I eventually did finish, but my time was waaay off my goal.  I was pretty bummed, and was mad at the weather, and even tweeted about it.  But then a cool thing happened.  Sean Astin – famous actor dude, lover of running, and sometimes Hobbit responded to my tweet.

Puts it in perspective.

Puts it in perspective.

Yes, it was hot, but we still had a great time.  Can’t do anything about it, so just enjoy the experience.

Medals dang near big as yo head!

Medals dang near big as yo head!

Anyway, I hope to get better actual race photos this  year, in fact I already scouted out the photographers’ locations Here, Here & Here.  Hahaha!

Next up is travel and Expo!  So close!  If you’re running at Disney this week, best of luck!  If you see me, please say, “Hi.”  You can recognize me because I look like the guy in the photos above.^^^^^^^^^^

To everyone else, what do you do to get a good race photo?  How would you handle running in that heat?  Tell me something good!

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One Week to Dopey

So we completed yet another trip around the sun – Happy New Year!  And now we’re one week away from race 1 of 4 of the Disney Dopey Challenge.  I can’t believe that after months and months of pounding the pavement, that it’s almost time to race!

Only 6 more sleeps!

Only 6 more sleeps!

My Hal Higdon training plan has me all up in the taper.  Today is a 3 mile run + weights.  Friday is a rest day.  Saturday’s long run is just 8 miles.  A far cry from the 38 mile weekend just recently.

I’ve never been this guy, but I must admit I’ve been checking the weather in Florida.  Right now it’s hawt and humid.  Not good for racing.  I really hope it cools down some.

Last year it was pretty miserable for the Marathon Weekend.  Like 90 degrees with like 90% humidity and 100% sun.  It felt like I was running through oatmeal.  And not the weak instant kind, but rather the full on steel cut Irish oats!

They had these notices all over the place - from the Expo to the course!

They had these notices all over the place – from the Expo to the course! Click image to enlarge.

In North Texas, it’s fairly cold right now.  Like in the 20’s this morning.  In preparation for the warmer weather, I’ve been saving my runs for the afternoon, and I’ve been over-dressing.  Not ideal, but not much else I can do.

That said, I am an eternal optimist, so I’m still counting on a cold front hitting Orlando next week.  I know it can happen!

How bout you?  What’s your ideal race temperature?  What’s your warm weather race strategy?

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38 Mile Weekend, Toe Update, & Tacos

I made it through my last weekend of long runs before the Disney Dopey Challenge!  It technically started Thursday with 3 miles and a weight session.  Friday was 5 miles and I felt good.  Saturday was 10 miles, but lightning and rain forced me to do it on the dreaded treadmill.  Ugh, but my legs felt good.  And I think the boredom I have to fight on that thing will help me mentally come race day!

Sunday was the 20 miler.  Luckily the rain stopped, but it was replaced by 15-20 mph winds from the cold North.  Temps were around freezing and with the wind chill it said it felt like 25 degrees (American).  And I did the run at Dallas’ White Rock Lake.  The wind was really whipping off the lake and I was really fighting it.

I did not have a great run.  I felt sluggish (like a wet sponge) and wanted it to be over 3 miles in.  But I powered through it and got er done!  38 miles over 4 days!!!

I even ran into my mom who was also running, as well as a couple friends who wanted to meet me down there.

One of my friends. Pic taken by another one.

One of my friends. Pic taken by another one.

After finishing that tough tough run and our body temps cooled off, we got really cold!  How to warm up?  TACOS!

Mmmmm tacos.  That's how you feel better, right there!

Mmmmm tacos. That’s how you feel better, right there!

I was pretty worn down afterwards.  I wasn’t able to get off the couch all that much.  I think part of the issue is that I did that whole 20 miles on a little water, 1 Gu and 1 Honey Stinger.  200 calories ingested during a 20 mile run don’t really make up for the 3,000 or so I burned!  I’ll be better about this come race day.  Hopefully running on empty will make me stronger.  I hope.

WARNING:  While on the couch, I couldn’t help taking a pic of the progressing bruising/blistering ole toe.



It doesn’t really bother me at all, just looks gross.  But I kind of like it because it reminds me of my all time fave movie: “Lost in Translation”.  It has a scene where ScarJo stubs her toe and later on shows it to Bill “effin” Murray while they eat sushi, and he calls it “Brack toe” and says it’s probably a delicacy in Japan.  I can’t help but keep calling it my bracktoe.  You can see the short movie clip HERE.

So there we go, now it’s TAPER-TIME!

What’s your go-to post long run meal?  How bad do your feet get blistered and bruised by the end of training season?  What’s your fave movie?

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Dopey Challenge Training Week 15 – The Big One!

I’ve circled this week in my head months ago.  This is the final simulation week for the Disney Dopey Challenge (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2 in 4 days).  I’m following the plan Hal Higdon created for this event.

Bring it on, mister dwarf!

Bring it on, mister dwarf!

Here’s what this week looks like:

Mon: rest

Tue: 5 miles (+ weights)

Wed: rest

Thu: 2.5 miles (I’ll do 3 + weights)

Fri: 5 miles

Sat: 10 miles

Sun: 20 miles

I feel pretty good going into it.  My knee feels the best it’s felt in weeks, I didn’t even tape it before my 5 miler today.  We’ve also had a warm front come through, so it’s patio weather right now, but they say the weekend will get cold again.

True words.  It takes a lot of work.

True words. It takes a lot of work.

Either way, I’m ready to knock it out!  I’m already trying to figure out which taco joint I’m going to hit up after the 20 miler.  That is good motivation right?  Tacos?

After that it will be all taper time until the main event!  We’re getting close!  When I was putting in the miles for this back in July and August, it felt like we’d never get here, but now we are!  Let’s do this!

I know most of my friends are in the off season right now, but is anyone training for anything?  How difficult is it to train this time of year…what with all the darkness, coldness, & rich foodness going on?

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October Run Mileage & Halloween Recap

As I get closer to the Disney Dopey Challenge (4 straight days of races: 5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2), my training mileage is obviously increasing week by week and month by month.  I decided to look back at the past few months and see what I’ve been hitting.  It goes a little something like this:

August – 93 miles

September – 111 miles

October – 130 miles

Looks like the Hal Higdon plan I’m following increases about 20 miles per month.  I don’t want to look ahead and do the math to see if that will hold true, I’m just going to keep following it and trust that it will all work out.

That said, I think 130 miles in a month is a pretty good number.  I’m happy to have reached that.  But I know enough not to get all cocky about it.  Here’s why:  I have friends who do 100 mile races in a DAY.  I have friends who run up to 120 in a WEEK.  And the list goes on.  So there is always someone doing more, and there are always opportunities to do more.  I also have friends who run just a handful of miles a month, it’s all good as long as they’re out there!

Anyway, on to November and many more miles!

As for All Hallows Eve, it went well. The girl wanted to be a cowgirl (we’re assuming this since she can’t really talk, but she is obsessed with her pink cowgirl boots).

Cowgirls are udderly cute.

Cowgirls are udderly cute.

My boy wanted to be a ninja.  I’m guessing he wanted to be that because he has two imaginary friends who protect our house from a tree in the front yard.  They are named Go and Johnny Go.  They are ninjas.  famous illustrator David Hyde Costello, who graciously offered to sketch them for him.  Here’s what he drew:

Grif said the only inaccurate part is that one of them has a bow and arrow, not a sword. Shoulda known!

Grif said the only inaccurate part is that one of them has a bow and arrow, not a sword. Shoulda known!

I must go back and say that I can only ASSUME they are imaginary friends, because as my one friend pointed out, if they’re true ninjas, then they cannot be seen!  Here’s Griffin in his costume:

Do not cross him.

Do not cross him unless you want to taste steel (or plastic, as it were).

And it just so happens that I have access to a ninja outfit as well.  So I told him I’d dress up with him, but I don’t do normal costumes, it has to have a twist.  I decided on adding a red wig and going as a Ginja (ginger ninja).

I'm a ninja with attitude.

I’m a ginja with attitude.

So there you have it, another month of run training down, and another successful Halloween!

What about you?  How’s your mileage looking?  What’s you dress up as for Halloween?  Do you have any imaginary friends?

Categories: Life Times, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Disney Dopey Training Week 8

Disney World Dopey Challenge – 4 straight days of races in Jan – 5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2.  On the Hal Higdon plan I’m following, his week’s start on Monday…er, ok.  Mine start on Sunday, but whatevs.  Going by his plan, it looks like this:

Mon – Rest, Tues – 4 miles, Wed – 7 miles, Thurs – 4 miles, Fri – Rest, Sat – 10 miles, Sun – Cross Train.  I also have a couple gym sessions in there, and still deciding on my cross – Def yoga, but maybe a little trail run too?  We shall see.

So Dopey indeed!

So Dopey indeed!

This is one of the “easy” “off” weeks that we are rewarded with after pulling a back to back weekend of runs.  This past weekend was a 6 miler followed by 16.

This morning’s run was kind of eerie.  Not many people on the roads, not much light from the crescent moon, very overcast, mighty windy (around 20 mph), humid humid – 90%, and 70 degrees.  So yes, my tank top was soaked.  The weird thing was that most of the run there was a faint smell of skunk in the air.  I hate coming across skunks on my runs.  I have yet to be sprayed, but I’d rather avoid any chance.  Believe you me you, I was analyzing every shadow to see if there was a white stripe in there (no, I’m not talking about Jack White).  Luckily, ole Peppy never revealed himself to me today.  Maybe he smelled my musk from my sweat and it was too much to handle, so he scurried off.

True words.  It takes a lot of work.

True words. It takes a lot of work.

My only dilemma this week is that I usually get up early before work to run.  If you don’t know, I work as a TV producer.  And the problem is that I have an early shoot on Wed.  So I’d have to get up extra extra early to get my 7 miles in.  I’d say I should just wait and do it in the afternoon, but we’re supposed to have a massive storm roll through town.  Don’t think I want to be running in hail weather.

Oh crizzap, I think I just convinced myself to get up at the butt crack of dawn.  I guess it’s good training, after all for the Disney races, we have to wake up at 2 a.m.  Yes, it’s an early check in and start time, so the alarm goes off at 2 flippin a.m.

How’s bouts yous guys?  Ever come across a skunk on a run?  What’s the earliest you’ve gotten up to run?

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Weekend Recap: Running, Hockey & Yoga, Oh Myyy!

We FINALLY got some cooler weather in North Texas.  The funny thing is that I didn’t even know we were getting it.  I have a really bad habit of thinking that tomorrow’s weather is going to be exactly like today’s.  And on Friday when I went to lay out my running gear for the next morning, it was shoes, socks, shorts, tank top.  When I got up at 5 something, I decided to check the weather.  The temps had taken a massive plummet.  It was in the low 40’s!  Did not expect that!  So I had to scramble to find my long sleeve gear, headband, gloves, etc.  Lesson learned:  Always check the forecast!

The cooler temps helped the run though.  I felt pretty springy.  I was only doing 9 miles for my Disney Dopey Challenge Training, per my Hal Higdon Sched.  I met up with my Project Run 214 peeps, and we knocked out the miles pretty smoothly!

I unofficially backtracked the plan, but it officially started 5 weeks ago.

Week 6 of 18 Done!

Sunday called for Cross Training, so I took a much needed yoga class.  I was able to stretch my bod out a bit, while also clearing my head, and building some strength.  I always feel better after yoga, just like after a run.

Other than that, we took advantage of the nice weather and opened the windows of the house and took the rugrats to the park to play.  Oh, and Griffin had his final class of his introductory Hockey class, designed by Mike Modano.

I know they're supposed to look menacing in their gear, but come on, look at him!

I know they’re supposed to look menacing in their gear, but come on, look at him!

This class they didn’t allow the kids to use any “crutches”.  In the previous classes they had these geezer-walker looking things that they could use to help balance on their skates.  As I anticipated, the kids didn’t need them at all!  It’s amazing what you can do if you remove the easy way out.  Those little rookies were skating all over.  Of course they fell a lot, but all that matters is they kept getting back up!  Here’s a video from my smarty phone of Grif trying to figure it out:

Luckily, little kids are made of rubber, so they can afford to fall over and over without getting hurt!  I’ve only ice skated a handful of times, and only played hockey once.  I was in Maine, and my good friend there was coaching a team, so he let me play with them in their practice.  Did I mention it was a little kid’s hockey team?  Those kids were half my size, but could all skate like Michelle Kwan!

AS long as I stand still, I won't fall.

AS long as I stand still, I won’t fall.

My friend checking me into the boards...and taking great pleasure in it!

My friend checking me into the boards…and taking great pleasure in it!

Anyways, on to week 7 of training!  I’ve got 37 miles to run this week, and I’m glad that it will be in cooler weather!

What have you got this week?  How’s your weather?  Can you ice skate?

Categories: Life Times, Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

20 Miles, Reflections, & Tacos

For my Disney Dopey Challenge Hal Higdon Training, the weekend called for runs of 5 miles on Saturday, and 15 on Sunday.  And that’s what I did, for a nice 20 mile weekend total!  The weather didn’t make it easy though.  I got running before sunrise both days, but that didn’t help much.  Saturday was around 80 with about 90% humidity.  Sunday was a little cooler – around 70, but with 90% humidity.  Both days I was a sweaty mess!  In fact, it was commented to me that it looked like I had jumped in the lake.  My clothes (and shoes) are still trying to dry.  After that, I felt I deserved a treat….TACOS!

Migas Taco from Torchy's Tacos.  Here's 1 of about 4 that I ate!

Migas Taco from Torchy’s Tacos. Here’s 1 of about 4 that I ate!

For the Sunday run I met up with some peeps to run around White Rock Lake.  Some of them I knew, some I now know.  You get to know people when you spend a couple hours running together, you know?  And it definitely makes it easier to run these longer distances when you have people to do it with.  That’s one of the reasons I go to WRL to run.  It’s a 9 mile loop with TONS of other runners.  I always enjoy the head nods when you see people who are going the opposite direction as you, especially when you see the same people 2 or 3 times!

We also took a few little batman routes to get us some extra mileage.  I was thrilled when we finished one loop and were at 12 miles instead of 9.  I was thrilled for two reasons.  1) I only had 3 more to go to get to 15.  2) It was my one running friend’s 1st time going that far!  And we did it with a decent pace too!  Somewhere around 8:40 miles.

After the run, I went to a bench that I use to help me stretch.  Under the back side of the bench, kind of hidden, is this small plaque:plaque

Like I said, I use this bench to help me stretch each time I run there.  And I have seen this plaque before, but this time I really looked at it.  “A place to go to think of a friend”  I wonder what exactly that means?  Is that something this Sabra Frazer said often?  Was this her spot to sit and think of friends?  Or is this where her loved ones come to think about her?

And who is this person?  What happened to her?  It says she died in 2003.  She was only 35.  Curious, I did a Google search.  I can’t find many details…except this:  It appears she ran in races.  Some of her race results popped up on pages like  But I can’t find much else about who she was, or what happened to her.  If anyone has any information about her, I’d love to hear it.  Please tell me if you know anything!

The bench that this plaque is under is curious in itself.  Instead of facing the lake, it is facing the trail where all the runners are.  Thousands of people go by this memorial every day.  I doubt not more than a handful have ever noticed it.

I’m guessing like many of us runners in the area, this is where she came to train.  I’m also guessing her family put this here so they can come and sit and watch all the runners and remember how she would run past this same spot so many times.  So I sat on the bench for a little while and did what the plaque says to do.  Yes, it is a very good place to go to think of a friend.

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Disney Dopey Training Week 5 & Motivation

Let's get doped up.

Let’s get doped up.

My training for the Dopey Challenge (4 straight days of races- 5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2) has gone swimmingly runningly so far.  This week looked like this:

Sun – Yoga, Mon – Rest, Tues – 3 miles + weights, Wed – 6 miles, Thurs -3 miles + weights, Fri – Rest.

Here’s what’s up for this weekend:

Sat – 5 miles, Sun – 15 miles.

Yup, it’s starting to get real.  But so far I’ve stuck to the Hal Higdon plan (actually, added a few extra miles along the way):

I unofficially backtracked the plan, but it officially started 5 weeks ago.

I unofficially backtracked the plan, but it officially started 5 weeks ago.  Click the image to enlarge it.

We’ve had cooler temps this week which has been heavenly for my runs, but of course, it’s supposed to be warmer and humidity-er this weekend.  Chance of rain, so hopefully that will help cool things off a bit.  I know I have a lot of friends racing this weekend locally and in more exotic places like Chi-town.  So hopefully the weather gods are kind to them!  Best of luck people!

If you’re not racing, you’re probably doing a long run this weekend too.  You probably also will be hating your alarm clock when it goes off, like I do too.  But I’ve got some motivation for you.  A runner friend of mine sent a video to me, and I thought I’d share it below.  As someone who’s won an Emmy for writing, this makes my writing bone jealous.  I can guarantee it will get you pumped for your race or long run this weekend:

What’ve you got planned this weekend?  Did the video give you goosebumps too?  Ready to rise and shine and find your greatness?

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Dopey Challenge Training – Week 3

Week 3 of 18 is run and dun.  The Disney Dopey Challenge is 4 straight days of racing (5k, 10k, 13.1, 26.2), and so it takes a lot of training to get ready for it.  Here’s what my week looked like:

Sun: yoga, Mon: rest, Tue: 3 mile run + weights, Wed: 5 mile run, Thu: 3 mile run + weights, Fri: rest, Sat: 4 mile run, Sun: 14 mile run

The highlight was the Sunday 14 miler.  I was a tad worried heading into it, not because of the distance, but because of the weather.  You see, on Saturday morn it was in the mid 80’s with a humidity percentage near like a quadrillion.  My easy 4 miler felt like twice that far.  My legs felt heavy, and I was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the 14 miler the next day.  But you know what, I felt great Sunday morning!  And it didn’t hurt that the humidity on Saturday finally turned into rain!  We had a pretty nice storm all afternoon.  After it passed, it left a nice cool evening.

The morning was cool too.  I planned to do my long run before sunrise at White Rock Lake in Dallas.  Problem is that I overslept…oops!  Not too late, but by the time I got down there, the sun had just come up, and with it some heat came.  Not too hot.  It was still in the 60’s at the start of the run, but did get up into the 80’s that afternoon.  A pretty gorgeous day.  And running at White Rock Lake is good because there’s a 9 mile loop around the lake, there’s tons of other runners and bikers and sailors and kayakers and picnickers and you get the idea.  There’s also a couple trails that branch off of the main trail.  For this run, I took one of them for the first time – White Rock Creek Trail.  It was a beautiful trail with lots of nature in the heart of the city.  It went through a green belt up north.  I took it until I got the extra 5 miles that I needed to get to 14 total.  There weren’t a ton of runners on that trail, more bikers, but I liked it.

Anyway, I felt pretty good, so much so that I caught myself smiling a few times during the run.  I did just read that smiling can help trick your body into going faster and/or stronger.  Something to do with brain receptors and neurons and whatnot.  Either way, it felt good to smile and run.  I also did just read that your “wall” is reached at the point of your previous long run.  I think this may be true.  My previous long run this season was two weeks earlier – 13 miles.  Yes, at mile 13 I wanted to be done.  But like always, I sucked it up and finished.  That’s how we build endurance – by slowly building the miles.

Anyways, week 4 is underway.  Today was 3 miles with weights.  Tomorrow 6 miles.  Bring it week 4!

How far along are you in your race training?

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