Number 3 of my 12 in ’12: The 2012 Ocean Drive Marathon


The morning of March 27th began under cloudy skies and a wind just brisk enough to run a chill down your spine. I took my sweet time waking up, showering and changing into my racing clothes, since my hotel was right around the corner from the starting line. I felt less pressure than in prior races. I ate well. I slept well. I was relaxed and feeling…well…confident. There was no nervous tension turning my stomach as I grabbed my overnight bag and closed the hotel room door behind me. Somehow, the specter of the prior night’s dinner was a distant memory as I exited the hotel and took in the crisp, damp air.

The walk to the starting area was a simple 2-block excursion. I realized that the overcast skies and the damp air could make the run feel unseasonably cold for a bit – but after a few miles the warmth of my exertion should chase the chill away and result in a fantastic effort. As I stood around the starting area after dropping off my luggage at bag check, good omens began to present themselves. First I saw one of my Team for Kids coaches – Coach Glen. Glen is a fantastic runner with an easy stride and a phenomenal work ethic. We briefly chatted before he headed toward the starting line – it was good to see a friendly face.

Then, more great omens arrived: fellow Marathon Maniacs from all over the place converged on the starting area. The mustard-yellow jerseys were easy to identify from a distance, and they seemed to draw teammates together with the simple thought that there is an inner strength in numbers. Two of my fellow Maniacs walked with me to the starting line just minutes before the gun went off. The starting line was a spray-painted orange line on the asphalt. To our right, the sound of the waves hitting the beach. A trumpeter played the Star Spangled Banner. The horn then sounded, and off we went. This was my kind of race. No fancy starting line. No fanfare. No huge throngs of fans. No TV. Just 26.2 miles of road, and a bunch of runners to share it with. There was something quite pure about this race.

The pace was a bit quicker than I had liked – about a 9:20 pace for the first couple of miles. Rookie mistake, and quite improper given the fact that no one ever wins a marathon in the first mile….but professionals know that a marathon can indeed be LOST right from the start. About five kilometers into the race, my two Maniac teammates and I backed off the throttle a bit and began to settle in to a nice, flowing rhythm. We chatted about our goals (which, to some, might sound a bit…extreme), such as running a marathon in all 50 states, earning more Marathon Maniac “stars” (more “stars” are earned by Maniacs that execute more….shall we say…..aggressive….marathon schedules), running ultras (any race over the marathon distance), and other rather interesting ideas. (note to reader: I had one extremely INSANE idea to raise money for the Dream Team – but let’s get through this year’s marathon of marathons first). (….in case you didn’t notice, that’s what we aspiring authors call a “teaser”. LOL).

The first 6…7…8 miles were going by smooth as silk. But this is me we are talking about. Nothing ever stays this way.

At around mile nine, I was still breathing smoothly and my legs felt like they had a lot of juice in them. All systems were still go. The course hugged the coastline and took us through one small town after another. There was a headwind that made the race a bit more difficult than optimal – but still quite enjoyable. I truly felt like this was the race that I was going to blast through the 5 hour barrier and grab a 4:45 finishing time.

A third of the way through the course, The Tool was nowhere in sight. The three of us decided to use our gels / energy shots at this point. As I was not a big fan of the taste of GUs, my energy source was a more solid, jelly-like substance cut into gooey cubes. They were squishy and reminded me of my childhood adoration of gummy bears. (Oh please – how can ANYONE dislike gummy bears). I popped one of these gummy cubes into my mouth, bit down and……

Crack.

I chipped a tooth.

There must have been something solid in it, as this was NOT a scenario I ever prepared for whilst running through my marathon gameplan. I quickly moved the gummy cube to the right side of my jaw, and…..

Oh no.

It stuck to the crown of my lower molar.

I tried to extract it…… And the crown came out with it.

Now I a small chip in one tooth and a large hole on the other side of my mouth. And in my hand: the crown that belonged in the rear of my jaw. So I did what any marathoner would do at this point: I stuck the crown in my pocket and just kept on going.

The extremely odd circumstances at mile nine became an utter distraction, as it completely took my mind off of what I was doing. Dumb thoughts kept racing through my brain, such as:

• I have to see my dentist now. This sucks.

• Well, I won’t be able to take in any fuel for the remainder of the race. This sucks.

• How the hell am I going to handle miles 20 – finish without fuel? This sucks.

• Belmont doesn’t open until Memorial Day, and I really felt like betting on the horses. This sucks.

• (see….I am odd)

The distraction disrupted my running chi. I began to lose my focus. Although I hit the halfway point at 2 hours and 15 minutes, my breathing got away from me. Then my arm swing faltered. Then, by mile 17, I began running out of fuel. I would have to fight just to finish. The wheels had come off.

The next few miles went by in a very slow, deliberate haze. Although I felt very little pain from the miles of effort, I simply had nothing left in my tank. You can have a fantastic car – state of the art – but it’s not going to budge without some Chateau Exxon 2012. I waddled to the finish line, just simply thrilled to earn my third marathon finish of the year. No personal record today – but one heck of a story to tell.

In three months, I had run three marathons. One in 25 degree temperatures. I lost a tooth in another. That’s….well….unique. The Tool rode with me all the way home, enjoying the view on the bus from Atlantic City’s terminal to Port Authority. No, he didn’t look out the window at the New Jersey landscape; instead, he took in the unmoving look of concern that was etched on my face. Would I feel this good before a marathon again in 2012? And, if so – would I be able to avert the rookie mistakes as well as the obscure issues in order to earn a personal best time? The sad look on my face said it all: I was beginning to lose faith. The Tool took a deep breath of the stale air and a huge grin appeared across his face. He could sense an opening – and he was going to make the most of it.

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Wanted To Share The Podcasts I’ve Participated In….


Here are links to podcasts I participated in involving the 2011 and 2012 WDW Marathons

A recap of the 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend:

http://www.wdwradio.com/2012/01/disney-world-marathon-recap-review-2012-show-257-january-15-2012/

 

A Preparatory Podcast For the 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend:

http://www.wdwradio.com/2011/12/disney-world-marathon-show-252-december-11-2011/

 

A Recap of the 2011 WDW Marathon Weekend

http://www.wdwradio.com/2011/01/walt-disney-world-marathon-weekend-2011-recap-roundtable-show-205-jan-16-2011/

Momentum: Not Easy to Develop, and Even Harder to Maintain


Once I got back to my room in the Boardwalk Villas, I rested through the afternoon, all night long, and in to the next day.  Monday afternoon, I flew home.  I’m lucky that I heal quickly – there was no noticeable limp as I waddled down the jetway and into the plane destined for JFK airport in New York City.  I wore a dark blue long sleeve shirt that stated “I DID IT!  26.2”  and alongside it “2012 Walt Disney World Marathon”, with Mickey in a running suit emblazed on the front, and a map of the course in bright colors on the back.  As I entered the plane, a flight attendant asked me “did you run the marathon yesterday?”  My response: “nope – I grabbed the shirt right off of some schmuck during a TSA strip search”.  Definitely a sign of things to come.  The flight was a two hour and thirty minute stress test.  One down….eleven more marathons to go.  I kept thinking about that as my slightly deranged cab driver pulled off a fantastic impersonation of  Cale Yarborough as we weaved through traffic from JFK to Manhattan.  An extremely fun weekend….was over.  Now – the work really begins.

And I don’t like hard work.

So I  did what I do best: I procrastinated.

I allowed myself three days to heal, making myself a silent promise to get back on the bridal path and begin the development of momentum to improve my time during my next race, the 26.2 With Donna: The National Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville Beach, Florida on Sunday, February 12th.  Well….I broke my silent promise when Thursday morning arrived and with it, some REALLY cold temperatures.  Way too cold to run at 5am, right?  So I brushed off my planned tempo run and caught another 30 minutes of sleep.  Besides….there’s always Friday.

Friday morning came and went – and not a mile was logged.  5 days.  No miles logged, no focus, and what’s worse – no inner fire to get things going.  NOT GOOD.

That Saturday I finally braved the 28 degree morning and got myself going.  Slowly.  I had no goal in my head, and that was a HUGE mistake.  I logged two loops around Central Park, but I lacked focus and purpose.  My performance was sad evidence of this fact.  I actually walked home from the park disappointed, when usually these types of runs fire me up for the remainder of the weekend.  That first week after the WDW Marathon was filled with bad juju.

The following two weeks were just as unfocused and disappointing from a training standpoint.  Sure I can make excuses: long commutes for work, travel for work, soreness from the marathon, cold temperatures…blah blah blah.  A marathoner needs to be better than the excuses he/she can come up with.  And I haven’t been.

So here I am: it’s 7am on a chilly Friday morning.  Leg number two of my 12-legged marathon monster is about a week away.  I know I’ll finish (simply because I’m stubborn – not because I’m physically primed for this one) – I just hope I perform a bit better at the end of the day.  The focus seemed to be coming back during this morning’s speed work.  Why?  Because I developed a specific plan for this morning’s run in my head, and then I executed it.  Not well, mind you – but I got it done.

It was during my slow walk home from the park this morning when I realized what was going on (and if you’ve read my prior entries on this blog going back a bit, you’ll catch the reference pretty quick): The Tool was back.  I thought I beat him up pretty badly.  I thought I had gotten rid of the little imp once and for all last November.  I was wrong.  I forgot that The Tool never goes away – the athlete only ignores his whinings while training and competing, or locks him away in some dark room with no satellite TV, doomed to watch re-runs of The Lawrence Welk Show until the athlete decides to hang up his/her Reeboks and calls it a competitive career.  It’s when the athlete drops his/her guard and loses focus on the goals ahead that the door is trust open, and The Tool marches on through, ready to spill the venom of laziness into our ears.  I dropped my guard.  The Tool marched right on in, perched himself on my shoulder, and had been whispering his distracting messages in my ear for weeks. Damn.  I should have caught this sooner.

Now that I realize that this tiny imp has reappeared to make my life more difficult, the battle has been joined once more.  And this one will go on all……year…..long.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and that is usually my long run day.  I’m planning to log two loops of Central Park, which should put my mileage at around 13-14 by the time I’m finished.  One of the weapons I’m planning to use to battle The Tool from today forward is this blog.  By posting my training goals, it will help me not to lose focus, and it will assist me with staying on track so that I improve throughout the year.

My Thoughts Regarding the WDW Marathon Weekend, Running Disney: Running the Disney Calendar


My original blog post Running Disney: Run the Disney Calendar for WDW Radio can be found here ….and yes…my 3rd blog entry for WDW Radio…..have I bored you yet?  No worries – I’ll get back to whining soon…..

In this blog entry, I’ll begin to summarize for my fellow DisneyGeeks the Run Disney calendar of events.  For those of you that are already runners (but haven’t given a Disney race a shot yet), hopefully these descriptions will help you select the race that sounds best for you to dip your toe into the Run Disney water.  And for those of you that are considering taking up walking, jogging, or running, maybe these descriptions can help you select the first race you enter.  As a reeeeeeally slow runner, I know that I need a carrot to dangle in front of myself in order to stay focus while I’m training.  Is there any bigger carrot to dangle in front of my eyes than a trip to WDW?  Not for me there isn’t!

So the Run Disney calendar kicks off in a BIG way, with what has become their signature event: The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  There are shorter distance races for kids, a 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) race on Friday, followed by a Half Marathon on Saturday and, to put a huge bow on the racing weekend, The Walt Disney World Marathon goes off on Sunday.  Some absolutely crazy runners actually run the half marathon on Saturday, and then wake up the next morning to run the full marathon.  Let’s face it – you gotta be Goofy to do that, right?  So if you run both races on this weekend, you travel home with not 1….not 2….but 3 medals!  A Donald Duck medal is hung around the necks of all Half Marathon finishers.  A very shiny Mickey medal is all yours, as long as you run all 26.2 miles on Sunday.  And….if you dare to run both….you also earn the Goofy Challenge medal, thereby making it clearly evident to those around you that the cheese must have fallen off of your cracker a loooooong time ago.  (I ran the Goofy Challenge in 2009, and most of my buddies have taken that act as firm confirmation that I’m slightly…well….askew).

This weekend of races has historically been held the second weekend in January.  The next WDW Marathon weekend is slated for January 5th – January 8th, 2012.  As of June 30th, the half marathon and the full marathon were at 50% of their overall participant capacity (which reminds me – I got to sign up soon).

The Family 5k Fun Run held on Friday, January 6th takes the participants through Epcot.  I think this is a great opportunity for teens (or tweens) to get their first taste of running in a large group with a runner pinned to their shirts.  Fun runs like this aren’t held with a fierce competitive overtone to them, so each person can go at his or her own pace and feel the satisfaction of finishing a distance that maybe they’ve attempted before!

The Walt Disney World Half Marathon will be held on Saturday, January 7th.  The race takes the runners through the Magic Kingdom before a big finish in Epcot.  Runners have the opportunity to run through Cinderella’s Castle, down Main Street USA, and through the World Showcase.  There are characters and photo opportunities everywhere, so most runners don’t come into this race with a goal time in mind…but I bet they run with a camera in their hands!

The Walt Disney World Marathon will be held on Sunday, January 8th.  This race is truly special, because it’s the only race on the Run Disney calendar that allows the participants to run through all four theme parks.  The number of characters out along the course, rooting for the runners, is amazing.  By finishing this race, each runner can say that he or she was in every one of the four theme parks….before lunchtime (or, in my case, before a late dinner – I really need to stop running with a grand piano on my back….but I digress…)!

Volunteer support throughout the weekend is fantastic.  Water stops and medical facilities are always available.  Cheering spectators can be found lining the various courses all weekend, helping you to achieve your goal.  By the time you pack your bags for home, you cannot help but depart with an incredibly positive vibe that you’ll carry with you for weeks….hopefully months!

Another good thing about this Marathon Weekend is the time of year that it’s scheduled for.  Early January provides comfortable temperatures and slightly lighter crowds within the parks. So you can celebrate your achievements by riding Splash Mountain, beating a family member at Toy Story Mania, or simply strolling down Main Street USA, taking in the splendor, unparalleled creativity and unique ingenuity that is Walt Disney World.

So get out there, get moving, and make sure you double-knot your shoe laces, because Marathon Weekend is only 6 months away!  In my next entry, I’ll continue to share with you brief a description of the other races that Run Disney offers.  In the meantime, if you have any general running questions, feel free to drop me a line at joseph_kolinsky@yahoo.com.  I’ll try my best to offer advice – and I’m more than willing to offer motivation to get your ears in gear!  I’m not a doctor, specialist, elite athlete or coach – I’ve just run a few of these races and I’ve made every single dumb mistake a runner can make.  If I can help you not to duplicate my utter stupidity, I’ll do my best!

In the words of my wise Irish grandmother,

“whether you think you can, or you think you can’t…you’re probably right.”

My Second Post For WDW Radio Running Disney: Ya Gotta Start Somewhere…


My original blog post Running Disney: Ya Gotta Start Somewhere on WDW Radio can be found here…please check it out!  I hope you like it!!!

In my first entry, I simply painted a brief picture of my rather pedestrian background, as well as providing you with a quick synopsis of what to expect from this blog.  In this second installment I’d like to do to turn my attention to you, the reader.

I’m figuring that, if you’ve read my first blog entry and made it this far into rant number two, you might have some interest in running a Disney race – or at least learning a bit about what Disney offers for runners, joggers, walkers….and waddlers like myself.

The great thing about Disney races is that is offers something for literally everyone.  For the serious runners (I’m talking about those runners out there that actually get to stand next to the starting line when the gun goes off, or those rabbits that weave around everyone on their way to a personal best time each time they race), Disney offers races that range from a 5K to a marathon in distance.  So whether you’re a shorter distance specialist or a true endurance athlete, there’s a race just waiting for you.  In addition, the courses are usually quite flat – so setting a personal best time is not out of the question.  Lastly, there is solid support throughout any Disney racing event –so there’s always enough water and available medical assistance on the course.   Quite simply, Disney knows how to organize a race – you won’t be disappointed.

For the casual joggers (and here I’m talking about those athletes that jog several times a week and run a few races a year, mainly for the fun, social aspect of it all), Disney races offer all the great qualities that I just mentioned as well as one other pretty interesting characteristic: a relaxed atmosphere.  Here in New York City, I consider myself very lucky to have Central Park as my backyard for running.  There are quite a number of races held in the park throughout the year, and the overall atmosphere on race day is intense.   Don’t get me wrong – I’ve come to LOVE that feeling.  But when I first started jogging, I felt as if I needed to “keep up with the pack”.  That feeling of competitiveness was a bit intimidating for me, since I constantly felt like I was running with a Steinway piano on my back.

I can assure you that the intimidating feeling I’m trying to describe does not exist in Disney races.   When I jog in a Disney race, I feel no pressure.  I feel like I can take in the sights and the energy around me, and simply enjoy the event.  That, combined with the feeling of accomplishment I get as I cross the finish line, is a combination that’s hard to beat.

For those of us that enjoy walking – or those that are thinking about trying something new or setting a new personal goal…something that would get them moving….something that they can build on….Disney races present an amazing opportunity.  Participating in a Disney running event provides you w

When I first began “jogging” (again – let’s throw that word in quotes for me, because what I look like while “jogging” can best be described as an excerpt from a reeeeeeally horrid 1950’s horror movie.  One guy from my old neighborhood actually told me I run like Herman Munster – not a good athletic role model), I couldn’t go 3-5 minutes without stopping and walking.  It took a lot of work to get myself to the point where I could jog a mile at a slow (and I do mean SLOOOW) pace.  I felt impatient – I wanted to be able to just throw on my sneakers and jog with everyone else I saw in the park, at their pace.  After a while, I felt like giving up.  Fortunately for me, I didn’t.  Instead, I picked a race 4-5 months away, and I used it to focus my efforts.

Each day I got just a little bit better.  Weeks went by, and my efforts began to very slowly show results.  On race day, it felt great to simply finish this small assignment I gave to myself.  Once I crossed the finish line of that first race, I picked another one.  Then another.  From there…I was literally off to the races!

If you’re a real DisneyGeek / DisneyNerd / Disney Enthusiast (I am all three, and proud of it), or even if you aren’t a huge fan of the House of Mouse, Disney races offer that carrot that you can hang in front of yourself, motivating you to get out there and get active.  At a Disney race, there is no feeling of judgment.  Instead, there’s a feeling of electricity.  Each time the gun goes off at a Disney race, it symbolizes a bunch of people taking strides to achieve their own personal goals.  I look to my left – then I look to my right – and I always wonder what motivates each runner to the starting line.  At any other race, I normally stand alone, waiting for the gun to go off and the masses to begin moving slowly forward.  At a Disney race, I don’t just look to my left and right – I actually strike up conversations with strangers.  I ask them what motivated them to run this race.  The stories I get to hear are amazing.  Next time – I hope to hear yours!

So there’s something for everyone at a Disney race.  It doesn’t matter how slow or fast you are.  It doesn’t matter if you run or walk.  All that matters is that you motivated yourself to the starting line.  Get yourself there, and let Disney take care of the rest, because each race they host is special.  In my next entry, I’ll briefly describe each of the Disney races for you, and I’ll discuss some of the really fun aspects of every one of them!

Until next time…throw on your sneakers, get out there and get moving!  And, as my coach constantly reminds everyone within earshot, double knot your shoelaces!!!

I’ve Added a Few New Blog Entries For WDW Radio, Running Disney: An Introduction


….and here’s my first one!  I hope you enjoy it!  I’ll get back to whining about my running life in just a bit….

Visit WDW Radio to read the original blog post Running Disney: An Introduction

Since you’re a fan of WDW Radio, I’m going to go out on a limb and just assume that you’re a Disney enthusiast.  Am I right?  I figured as much.  Well, so am I.  I’ve been called a “Disney Nerd”, a “Disney Geek”, a “Disney Addict”…and the list of labels goes on and on (and, frankly, I’m proud of every moniker that I’m assigned when it comes to my admiration for Walt and his works).   Spending time in the parks, at the resorts, and amongst fellow Disney enthusiasts makes each trip to WDW special for me.  I always seem to come home relaxed, refreshed, and with a bit of renewed creativity.

Another passion of mine is “running”.  Yes, that’s not a typo – I put the word “running” in quotes, because I firmly believe that what I do while wearing a pair of sneakers can be loosely referred to as running…although it looks more like waddling.  I look in the mirror each morning and the same thought passes through my rather dense cranium: I’m built for comfort, not speed.  But that doesn’t stop me from lacing up my sneakers at an obscene hour each morning and logging a few miles before going to work.  I know I’m slow – that I’m as quick as a turtle – but who cares!  Running – just like all things Disney – puts a smile on my face.

While my appreciation for Walt Disney World was easy to establish and cultivate through my joy of being a Dad (my daughter and I first visited WDW in 2004 – when she was 5 years old – and we’ve been Disney Geeks ever since), my passion for running was one that required a prolonged incubation period.  I always looked at running as a punishment.  In high school, if I threw an interception in a football game, the coach would yell “take a lap!”  In little league, if I struck out with runners in scoring position, my coach would yell “take a lap!”  When I joined a crew team in college, the first thing my coach would yell each morning was “take 5 laps!”  So let me be quite honest here: by the time I graduated college, I hated running.  However this opinion would drastically change after I made a promise to my daughter to run a marathon.  (I know – I should have promised her a Dole Whip and an Fastpass to Toy Story Mania – what was I thinking!)  I trained for and waddled through the 2005 ING New York City Marathon – and shortly after crossing the finish line, I wondered whether Disney held any running races at any point during the year.  I hopped on the internet…and eureka!

Being able to enjoy two of my passions at the same time – Disney and running – is what motivated me to begin this blog for WDW Radio.  In future entries I’ll provide updates on the various races that Disney offers, as well as some motivation and recommendations on how you can start working toward a goal of earning a medal in a Disney race.  All this…and a load of laughs mixed in for good measure.  So stay tuned!!