Friday, November 13, 2015

runDisney's Wine & Dine "Half of a Half" Marathon: Part 1

Yes, you read that right. If you're a runDisney enthusiast, then you probably already know that this past weekends Wine & Dine half marathon was shortened, but we'll get to that in my next post. Basically the only way I can summarize this race experience is with this: Fate was trying to tell me I was not meant to run this half.

So let's start with the Expo. Not that anything really went wrong there, but that's basically where it all started. Lily and I decided to wait to go to the expo on Saturday morning. The race was that evening, and we didn't want to waste any time on Friday going to the expo so we could get in as much park time as possible. Once we got to the expo, we went directly to packet pick-up, then we were directed to the Jostens center to pick up our shirts and gEAR bags. On the way over to the Jostens center we stopped at guest relations so Lily could pick up her race gift card. Mine had arrived in the mail, but hers did not. Luckily, they were able to deactivate the one that was mailed to her and activate a new one for her.

Once we got to the Jostens center we walked to the back where the race shirts and gEAR bags were. After we picked those up, we walked over to the Official runDisney merchandise area. Basically EVERYTHING was picked over. Lily and I did end up buying the unisex "I did it" shirts. Then Lily got in line at KT Tape, so I told her I was going to walk back over to packet pick-up and see if there was any runDisney merchandise there. Sadly, there was very little to choose from over there too, but it was worth a check. I'm glad I went back over there though, because I wanted to sign a few people up for runner tracking, and that's where that was located. I walked right by it the first time without even taking notice. After that, I walked back over to the expo to wander around.

(Countdown to fun!)

Maybe it was because it was the last day, but the expo was very underwhelming to me. I mean, it was better than what they ever had to offer at the Expedition Everest Challenge. Fit 2 Run took up a good majority of the expo floor. I honestly had no interest in buying new running gear while I was on vacation, but I did cave and buy a new pair of compression socks to wear to bed since I had forgotten mine. After I made my first round, I went back to check on Lily. She had moved maybe halfway through the line. Unfortunately with KT Tape, if an individual buys their own roll of tape, they will tape anything and everything you want taped for the race.

(Everyone in line at KT Tape be like "Tape Everything!")

I waited with Lily for a little while, and then I decided to make another round at the Expo. I wandered over to Sweaty Bands to pick up a few Sweaty Bands for a friend, and then to Sparkly Soul. I did see a Sparkly Soul that I wanted, but they didn't have the band thickness I was looking for, so I'll look online. They were wonderful and told me if I e-mailed them, they would still offer me the expo discount if I bought more than one. I did another lap and then went back to check on Lily. She was much closer, so I waited until she was done. Her entire wait was probably and hour and a half. After she was done we walked around the expo once more so she could see what they had to offer then we decided to head out. By this point it was after 2 pm and the expo was set to end at 3 pm. We stopped at Wetzels on the way out to grab a pretzel (mmm, carbs) to snack on while we rode the bus back to the resort. As we walked down the sidewalk we had to grab a quick picture by the Wine and Dine 1/2 sign with our race bibs.

Our plan to lay by the pool was a bust by the time we got back to the hotel seeing it was getting a little late for that, so we just went back to our room to rest. We threw on some College football and took a power nap. I had set my phone alarm for 4 pm so we could catch the bus for our dinner reservation at 5 at Disney Springs. Here is where things really started to take a turn for the worse. We got down to the bus stop and looked at the estimated arrival of the next bus. We waited, and we waited, and watched the time slowly creep up. Before we knew it it was 4:35 and the bus was just pulling up. We still had 25 minutes to get to our reservation, so I wasn't going to freak out just yet.

Once we boarded the bus we noticed that there were 2 motorized scooters on board. Lily looked at me and goes, "Those are going to have to get off at some point." I sighed and nodded my head. The bus stopped at the next resort hotel on the loop, and sure enough both scooters were getting off. By this time it was 5:45, so I decided to call the restaurant to let them know we were going to be late and to make sure we could still come. They were very understanding and said it wasn't a problem, they'd be able to seat us when we got there. Perfect! The scooters finally got off, and there was another scooter waiting that needed to board. I don't even remember what time it was once the scooter fiasco was over and we were finally on our way.

While we were sitting on the bus, it felt like quite a long ride and it seemed like I was looking at different scenery than what I remembered from going to Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) on previous trips. Sure enough, I was right. The buses bring you in from the other direction now, and drop you off. It may be because of all of the construction they have going on down there. I had mentioned to Lily that there should be a stop at the West side of Downtown Disney, so we could get off there and it would be closer to the restaurant. Nope. The only bus stop is now at the Marketplace. By this point, it was already after 5, and Lily and I had to weave through the crowds to get down to the restaurant. We finally walked in at 5:35. It took us over an hour to get there, ridiculous.

The restaurant seated us immediately, and we were ordering within 5 minutes. We both ordered pizzas, and were surprised at how quickly they came out. After all that, I was thankful and began to relax a bit as I munched on a few slices of pizza. While eating I text my friends and told them everything we had just gone through to get to our dinner reservation and that fate was trying to tell me that I was not meant to run this race. I sat there thinking of what else could go wrong. I mean this was my first half marathon after my open heart surgery 6 months prior. Maybe it was a sign of worse things to come...

We grabbed take out boxes for the remainder of our pizzas, paid our bills, and I think we were out of there right around 6:00. Unfortunately, we had to weave back through the crowds to get back to the bus stop (horrible idea, Disney). We had to have walked a few miles to get down there and back. So much for trying to save our feet for the race... Our wait to get back on our resort bus was minimal, and luckily we were the first stop on the resort loop. I believe we were back in our room getting ready for the race by 7 or 7:15. Our plan was to walk back down to the bus stop at 7:45 to catch the 8:00 bus to the race start, so now we were back on track.

So what happened next? Stay tuned for part 2 of my post to find out!

QOTD: Have you ever had a perfect storm of things go wrong for you on race day?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Monster Scramble 10K and 6 Month Post-op Follow-up

MS Monster Scramble 10K:
Sunday, October 18th, my friend Lily came out to Rochester so we could run the MS Monster Scramble together at Mount Hope Cemetery. We had never run together and with our half marathon fast approaching, we desperately needed to get in a test run together. We also agreed that running more than a 5K was needed for both of us. I have not been training as rigorously as I should be considering all that's been going on lately. We also decided to test run part of our Wine and Dine half marathon costumes.

It was FREEZING that morning, and snowflakes were even floating in the air. Lily met me at my house that morning, and we drove up to the race together. The website had us park off site and we were shuttled to the start, which was hassle free. The event had packet pick-up at the start location, which is really one of my only beefs about this race. Pick-up lines were divided, the top half of the alphabet, and the bottom half. Once we got our packets, we pinned our bibs on and ditched our bags they gave us in a tree near the start. Then we found a sunny area to stand in while we waited for the race to start.

(Love a good candid... not)

The Monster Scramble offered a 5K option and a 10K option - which we ran the 10K. I have to admit, early that morning when I woke up, I was really regretting that decision because it was so cold, but ultimately, it ended up being perfect weather for running. The race started at 10 AM, and both the 5K and 10K runners started at the same time. The 10K route was 2 of the 5K loops. The good thing about that was that Lily and I knew what to expect the second time around.

Of course right at the start of the race was a HUGE hill, and I was definitely not looking forward to running that again. There were a few other hills throughout the remainder of the course, but nothing that we couldn't handle. There were also some areas of the course that had old cobblestone instead of pavement, so that was a little dicey. Overall it was a beautiful course, and I would definitely run it again.

(Certainly not the best shot, but whatever)

Overall, I feel Lily and I did well. We finished the 10K in just under 1:18:00 (because there was no timing mat at the start), and we averaged 12:37 min/miles.

(Course map and elevation details)

I really enjoyed this race, and like I said I would run it again. It was definitely something different for me as I have not run at Mt. Hope Cemetery before so it was different scenery, and it was perfect for a Halloween themed race. My only complaint about the race was the packet pick-up the morning of. I honestly didn't know that the race had pre-race packet pick up, and this is my fault as I had been so busy with other stuff the week leading up to the race to even check into it. I'm sure it was held at Fleet feet.
(Pre-race selfie in the sun)

Price: It was cheap for a 10K. If I remember correctly, it was $25.00.
Water Stop: The race itself had one water stop (which since the 10K course looped twice it was 2), which I think was plenty for a 10K.
Volunteers: There was an adequate number of volunteers, and they even joined in on the fun and dressed in costumes.
Refreshments: Your typical spread, post race refreshments included fruit, bagels and water.
Shuttle: It was great that the race offered a shuttle from the parking area (it was necessary) The wait to catch the shuttle to and from where we parked was minimal.

Race Day Packet Pick-up: I hated that this was held at Mt. Hope Cemetery so we were unable to ditch our bags in my car. I wish they had held it at the Al Sigl building where we parked. Again, my fault that I wasn't paying attention to pre-race packet pick-up.

6 Month Post-op Follow-up:
A few weeks ago I also had my 6 month post-op follow-up with my NEW Cardiologist. I found out who my new Cardiologist was going to be when I called to tell them I found out my new valve was leaking. So then I went right to the URMC website to look him up. I have to say, just reading about his training (residency and fellowships), I was quite impressed.

Once I met him and we started talking he mention that he had been going through my old Cardiologists notes to get to know his patients but he also wanted to hear from me about how I thought things were going, etc. So of course I went into the story about I had volunteered at RIT for the echo students so they could scan me as see some pathology, and that's when I found out it was leaking. I told him that the valve looked like it had more than a mild leak, but it wasn't quite moderate, etc. Then I mentioned that I was a sonographer, and that's how I knew. He mentioned he saw that on my patient information sheet, and we continued talking. He and a student that was shadowing him for the day listened to my heart and lungs, and then he said he wanted to get another echo just to compare it to the post surgery echo I had the day I was discharged from the hospital. He said even though I will have read the echo, we would reconvene after to discuss.

The lead sonographer came to get me from my exam room and she walked me to her echo room. I mentioned to her that my valve was leaking, and that I knew there wasn't any post surgery. While she did my echo we chatted, then after she walked me back into an exam room so my cardiologist could come talk to me once again. He agreed that the valve had a mild leak, but that it wasn't uncommon for all valves to leak, and most of them do directly out of surgery. He said my pulmonary pressures hadn't changed, and that he believed that this would be my "new normal." He said I have no physical restrictions, so I can still run, etc, and if I feel there are any changes I can call him. If not, he wants to see me back in 6 months so we can re-evaluate just to make sure that nothing changes. All of that sounded good to me. He doesn't feel comfortable setting me up for annual visits just yet, and that's fine. I'd rather he be thorough.

Aside from the Monster Scramble and my follow-up, I've been keeping busy. This past weekend I ran another Halloween themed 5K (which I'll be posting about in the near future), and I also had a Halloween party which was a lot of fun. Tomorrow morning my friend Lily and I finally leave for Disney for our half marathon!

QOTD: Did you run any fun Halloween themed races this year?