Rocky Mountain Half Marathon/Elk Double 2016

First thing’s first and we need to get this out of the way: the Rocky Mountain National Park Half Marathon DOES NOT actually go into the park. It takes place and around the town of Estes Park, CO. This should not in any way discourage you from doing the race because it is absolutely so much fun and the views are lovely. You also get to see the Stanley Hotel (where The Shining) was filmed. We did not stay at the Stanley. We stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies. It was much cheaper, but…I mean…it was the YMCA. It was about 15 minutes to get to the start line, it was clean, and there was no AC, just a box fan in the window. Would I stay there again? Ehhhh if I decide to bring the birds and rent a cabin sure? Otherwise try to snag something in town.

Stanley Hotel

On to the races. First came the 5k on Friday evening and that just went around the lake. It was pretty. There was water. A bald eagle perched above the starting line and nearly crapped on three people and then flew off during the national anthem. Was it an omen? No idea.

The half was a much bigger beast. Organization-wise, there was a little bit of mess when it came to the corrals since I was put into the 2:30 pace corral and we all know that is aspirational. I mean, I managed to take half an hour off my time, but 2:57:09 is not 2:30:00. OH WELL. Lots of people were flummoxed about their corral placements but nobody died.

Waves

HAHAHA no. Also horse trailers. There was a horse show next door.

There were portable toilets as far as the eye can see, so A+ there. There were also plenty of water stops (I’m not sold on Gnarly…Nuun is still my go to drink, but whatever) and they had gels at pretty much every stop. I love Honey Stinger chews, but the gels are pretty decent as well. No complaints.

As far as the other perks? The photo company had a very reasonable $20 deal at the Expo which I took advantage of. They didn’t really cover the 5k, so be aware of that.

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This was near the lake at the end.

Overall, this race was great. The 5k was fun, the half was pretty and challenging, and the medals…did I mention the medals?

Finish with Medals

Best. Medals. Ever. They’re huge.

I want to also mention that Vacation Races was fantastic in every possible way when we had to make changes to my dad’s 5k registration. They’re prompt and accomodating and they have an awesome refund/transfer policy. With Disney eliminating the option to defer…well…I’m probably gonna stick to VR for a while after the Dopey 2017 races. I really want RunDisney to get their shit together but I’m not optimistic.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions!

Dark Side Challenge 2016

It is raining/hailing/sleeting in Denver, and my birbs are cuddled up and watching bad TV with me. Seems as good a time as any to write my race recap for the RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge!

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I was Darth Jar Jar from the reddit theory for the 10k. Don’t you judge me. (Photo taken by Disney Photopass)

To start with, I don’t think I’m going to be doing any more inaugural races for a while. Too many kinks no matter how good the organizers are. RunDisney tried a new course that went from Epcot to ESPN, and a lot of people hated it, but I honestly didn’t mind. The people who drove and parked at Epcot were the ones who had the most trouble. It took a long time to get from the finish back to my hotel (Pop Century) for the 10k, but for the half they’d clearly called in every charter bus for a thousand miles so it was a MUCH faster process. Presumably it was also faster for the people who needed to get back to the parking lot, but I can’t speak for that aspect.

The course for the 10k went from Epcot, through Hollywood Studios, then over to ESPN. There were a lot of weird bottlenecks along the path between Epcot and Hollywood Studios, which I’m told is pretty normal for that route. It was horrifically hot and muggy so there was no chance of me getting a faster time than I had in New Orleans anyway, and I was happy to enjoy the chaos. The last mile…ish was on a packed dirt path and that got hairy in a couple of spots as well. Not awful, but you could easily twist an ankle.

As always, the medals and shirts are great. No complaints there.

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The course for the half was pretty similar except that it went out to Animal Kingdom and then came back to ESPN. There were tons of Storm Troopers and other characters all over both courses, and Kylo Ren on the stage at Hollywood Studios was a lot of fun. I’d like to say I got some great photos but I honestly didn’t because I was so hot and kinda loopy.

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Have some fireworks. I’m a terrible photographer. 

For anyone worried about the Disney Photopass changeover, don’t be. They did great and (once the server problems were resolved) everything popped up quickly.

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Darth Maul’s horns did not hold up as well as Jar Jar’s eyes…not gonna lie. (Photo taken by Disney Photopass)

I’ll almost certainly do both Star Wars races at some point so I can get the Kessel Run medal, but that’s the only reason I’d do this race again. It is fun, but it is just too damn hot in April in Florida. I love RunDisney but I think they need to reassess what time of year they hold this run.

As for the next round… I don’t know if I’ll be staying at Pop Century again for the Dopey…. my friend Sara and I are going to try to upgrade to Port Orleans. Or Yacht Club. We stayed at Yacht Club the last two nights of our trip and it was GLORIOUS. The pool alone is worth the cost, but given that the Dopey is in January…ehhh. Probably won’t be able to use it.

Signups for the Dopey are tomorrow and I’m conflicted. Am I going to be able to do this? I’ve lost more weight. I’m getting faster. Can I really go the full 26.2?

I hope so. I’ll sure find out.

Running Goals

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Have a decent picture of the Rock and Roll NOLA 10k medal while I’m at it. SORRY IT WASN’T IN THE ACTUAL BLOG POST ON RNRNOLA. 

I’m always interested to hear what other people’s goals are in regards to running. For some people it is specific times, for others it is a certain number of races in a year, or a new distance altogether.

For me, this year, it is all of the above. My plan is to run the Dopey in 2017 and to reasonably be able to do that? I need to run my first full marathon some time this year. I need to get my times under 12min/miles AT LEAST and I need to do all of this while losing weight and staying injury free.

I’m terrified, honestly. There is so much that could go wrong. But I need to do this to prove to myself that I’m actually kind of becoming a runner. A real runner.

Since the Princess Half in 2015, I’ve run 10ks or halfs (or both) in Florida, California, Colorado, and Louisiana. My first full marathon will probably be in Washington State with my dear friend Sara in September.

Good, bad, or ugly…I’m going to do this.

Do feel free to leave your goals in the comments and make me feel a little less crazy.