Hi Ho, Hi Ho…Off to the races I will go

Today I started my training for the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon and the 2014 Walt Disney World ‘Dopey Challenge’.  For the next 6 months through the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January 9-12, 2014) I will be out there putting in the miles 5 days a week building my base until race day in Philadelphia (November 17) and then buckling down for the next 8 weeks until ‘Dopey’. As a reminder, the Walt Disney World ‘Dopey Challenge’ is 4 days of running and includes a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon…truly ‘Dopey’.

It's official

Going Dopey in 2014

It’s hard to believe that just 3 years ago I hadn’t run at all.  I actually reached 3,500 miles of cumulative running this weekend (since I started recording my mileage in September 2010).

My mileage total as of July 14, 2013

My mileage total as of July 14, 2013

Philadelphia was my first marathon back in 2011 and I was so nervous when I signed up. The feeling of crossing the finish line in my first marathon will always be with me. This year’s Philadelphia Marathon will be my 6th marathon and my third Philadelphia Marathon in a row. I have been in contact with the Philadelphia Marathon folks and may be a featured blogger this year. I’ll share the link if that does happen.

Completing my first marathon - Philadelphia 2011

Completing my first marathon – Philadelphia 2011

I am especially pleased that this year my wife Shari will be running with me for her second marathon. It should be a fun time. The crowds in Philly are really great and there are no real quiet spaces. It’s a great course. The first half takes you through the city, its neighborhoods and many of the well known sights. The second half of the race takes you along Kelly Drive up and back through Manyunk. The finish line is at the foot of the Philadelphia Art Museum (the ‘Rocky’ steps). Temperatures in the last 2 years have been ideal for marathoning. Cool to start and warming up just slightly through the morning but not too hot.

Rocky at the top of the steps - Philadelphia Museum of Art

Rocky at the top of the steps – Philadelphia Museum of Art

I will then have 8 weeks between running Philadelphia and the Walt Disney Marathon weekend. In 2011 I had only 7 weeks between running Philly and the Walt Disney World Marathon. Having signed up for a second marathon before even finishing my first marathon you can only imagine the thoughts going through my mind if I would be able to do it. I did and even improved on my time from 7 weeks earlier.

2012 Walt Disney World Marathon

2012 Walt Disney World Marathon

I had been turned on to the idea of the ‘Goofy Challenge’ (running both the Half and Full Marathon) from my experience running alongside the runners during the 2012 Disney Marathon and thought I might be up for the challenge in 2013. I wanted also to return to Philadelphia in 2012 and see if I could improve on my marathon time. I worked really hard in 2012 and PR’d by over 6 minutes, breaking 4 hours in the marathon. For the ‘Goofy Challenge’ I was running to raise money for ‘Autism Speaks’ and was more concerned with completing the event than of any specific time goal. In addition to the Challenge I also ran the Family 5K with my wife. We also ran the marathon together (her first) and we took as much time as we needed and as many photographs as we could. It was a great weekend. I was able to raise just over $3,400 for Autism Speaks in the process.

Mile 20 with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto

Mile 20 with Mickey, Minnie and Pluto

This year’s Philadelphia Marathon should be special as it is the 20th Anniversary of the race. Philadelphia really knows how to celebrate and I am very much looking forrward to the event this year especially running alongside Shari.

They actually moved the Philadelphia Marathon weekend back a week this year as there is another event going on in the city on the usual weekend in November. That will be beneficial for me as it gives me an extra week to train for the ‘Dopey Challenge’. To replicate the race conditions I have modified my race plan to have 4 days of consecutive running from Thursday to Sunday for the last few weeks of the training so my body get used to the effort (or abuse) and it can adapt to recover more effectively. It will also help me know what I need to do in terms of fueling and recovery techniques going into the event.

I will be heading to Walt Disney World solo this year due to the logistics of racing all four days. It will be a little different not having the family with me but through the magic of social media I have made lots of great connections with fellow runDisney enthusiasts and will no doubt be meeting up on one or more of these days to share the experience. Don’t feel bad for Shari for not being with me, she is headed down to Walt Disney World the following month to run the 2014 Walt Disney World ‘Princess Half Marathon’ and ‘Glass Slipper Challege’.

My training program is here if you are interested in taking a look. This is Hal Higdon‘s Marathon Intermediate 1 marathon plan for (Philly) and his 8 week multiple marathon plan modified so that there are four consecutive running days each Thursday through Sunday.

Again this year I will be running for Autism Speaks as a returning alum of ‘Team Up’. They are a great charitable foundation and do wonderful work.

I just completed hosting a virtual 5K to raise money for this years event and I am pleased that today it sold out. All 150 spots were taken. You can read about the event here. Everyone seemed to enjoy this event and I have had many kind comments from participants.  This has gone a long way in helping me reach my fundraising goals.

If you would like to help by sponsoring me as I run ‘Dopey’ please visit my personal fundraising page. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated.

I hope you some of you will follow my blog and join me on this journey to the finish line.

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