Yep. I am well aware that this post is REALLY late this week. But…let me tell you…I was on a glorious, fun vacation. And I was off the grid for much of it because I was hanging on a cruise ship. Gotta love it.
Now, let me remind you, that when I planned a birthday trip…I was to have already run my marathon. I had planned on running the Erie Marathon, but it sold out before I could register for it. I wasn’t expecting that, so it made me give up on my dream of a Boston 2020 experience and turn my focus on Boston 2021. BUT…this now meant that instead of recovering on my cruise/vacation…I was now in the peak of my training.
My coach was very flexible with my schedule and kindly gave me a “down” week while I was away. But this did include two back-to-back 13 milers…which I moved from the weekend to the middle of the week (while on a cruise ship instead of at a Disney resort) , but this was how it would work in my schedule the best while I was away. I kept them back-to-back because I felt that was an important component to the training…just shifted WHEN they happened.
Was it ideal to have to train while on my birthday cruise/vacation? NOPE. Was it fun? NOPE. But…it is what it is right now…and I worked it in. It wasn’t perfect. It was far from it. Disney exhaustion is a real thing friends, and it definitely hit me hard. But…I managed to keep my training on track. I wish I didn’t HAVE to fit it in…but we made it work the best we could.
Let’s set sail…
Monday: REST/RECOVERY DAY! EMBARKATION DAY FOR DISNEY DREAM CRUISE!
I arrived in Orlando on Sunday morning and spent most of the morning running around Disney Springs and getting settled in to the All-Star Music resort for one night. No running around the parks. Nothing big on Sunday…just get a meal at Sanaa (THE BEST) and get some sleep to make the drive to Port Canaveral in the morning. I set an alarm and got up ahead of it, managing to work in my morning PT stretches that day. Then we made the drive to port and got signed up for the Castaway Cay 5K (which was now running on my birthday), and boarded the Disney Dream. The rest of the time was spent exploring the ship, grabbing lunch (they made me a gluten free tomato sandwich…which took some time to get to me…and they sent me 2…because I guess they thought I would starve)…settling into our room…going through the safety drill…catching a show…getting dinner (and meeting THE BEST tablemates ever)…dealing with Cathy getting sea sick…there wasn’t time for a run. And it was nice to have an extra day off and to feel like I could get used to the ship and get my trip off to a leisurely and un-stressful start start.
Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: BASE RUN 6-8 MILES – GOAL 7 MILES + 4-6 STRIDES – EASY EFFORT – TRY NO WATCH AGAIN
Welcome to the wonderful world of training while on a cruise. This was NOT easy whatsoever. While eating breakfast, the ship pulled into Nassau in the Bahamas. YAY!! I had heard how touristy this stop was, so Cathy and I decided that we’d leave the ship, hit up the Hard Rock, hit the Starbucks (I was buying a mug for a friend), then head back to the ship. This was what we did and I was happy with this decision. The streets were crowded, and I could only imagine how the beach would be. While everyone was off the ship, I figured I’d go onto the track on Deck 4 and run my workout there. The problem was, part of the deck was blocked off due to some maintenance happening. AND…my GPS wasn’t working. At all. So I would physically have to count my laps. I wasn’t feeling it. So, we took the stairs up to Deck 11 and entered the fitness center. Here, I hopped on one of the treadmills and did an easy run (because I can’t run fast on a treadmill), putting in a full 8 miles at this pace, skipping the strides and vowing to add them onto one of my runs when I got back on land. Done. Cathy walked on the treadmill next to me and would replenish my water as needed, which was awesome. It was a great way to spend the afternoon before showering, changing (it was Halloween costume night!), and heading out to do some Trick or Treating and catching dinner with two of our table mates (the other 2 parties were at Palo that night). It was so much fun, and I wasn’t stressing the workout at all. That being said, I knew the rest of the runs on the ship would be on that treadmill.
Wednesday: INSTRUCTIONS: 11-13 MILES WITH 3 MILES FAST FINISH – GOAL 12 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL FAST FINISH AT THE END.
This was supposed to be our day at Castaway Cay…but that got shifted to Thursday. Instead, this was our Day At Sea. It would also be Pirate Night. That’s fun, right? I got up early to get to the fitness center on the ship just after it opened at 6 am. I had 13 miles to log (really 13.1, because I can’t just run 13 miles), and was going to break it up (since treadmills go for an hour at a time) by doing 5 miles, 5 miles, and then a “fast” 3 miles right at the end. I had my bottle of Maurten with me and would fuel after each interval, with water in between. I learned, very quickly, that running on a treadmill on a cruise ship is HARD. You get a full-body workout because the treadmill belt is moving, but the ship is swaying too…so at times I felt like I was running up a hill, and at times down a hill. It took some getting used to. But I powered through with 10 miles at an easy
pace, and then 3.1 miles at a faster (maybe not super fast, but faster) pace. It was fast for me on a treadmill. Afterwards, when I finished up, one of the personal trainers on the ship came over and asked me if I was training for a marathon. He then asked which one and how many I had run. He just said he had noticed me running. WOOHOO!! So, while this wasn’t what I had in mind (and this probably would have been better on land)…I just made the most of what I had been dealt. Then, Cathy surprised me with a Stem to Stern wine tasting later that day. We did A LOT of walking around the ship that day too. And, of course, dressed up like pirates, went to dinner at the fancy Palo restaurant (where I had a gluten free souffle for dessert!!), and then had fireworks on deck. AMAZING.
Thursday: INSTRUCTIONS: 11-13 MILES WITH 3 MILES FAST FINISH – GOAL 12 MILES – EASY DOES IT UNTIL FAST FINISH AT THE END.
It was my birthday. YAY! I love my birthday. But this morning, I was up at 5:30 to get dressed and head up to the fitness center. It was still closed when I got up to the 11th deck, but opened up a few minutes later. I needed to start at 6 am sharp to get in 10 miles of running prior to the Castaway Cay 5K I would be running on Disney’s private island. I started right on time, with my Maurten bottle to fuel me through the 10 easy pace miles on the treadmill. I did another round of 5, then started over with the last 5 miles. Cathy met me up there as I finished up and we took the steps down to Deck 2 to group together with everyone doing the 5K. I was using the 5K as my “fast finish,” not sure how fast it would be in the hot sun on the island AFTER a 13 mile run the day before and 10 miles ahead of the 5K itself. We were walked off the ship and then to the start line of the 5K. Cathy was doing the 5K as well, but we weren’t running it together. We were sent off as the clock started and I passed quite a few people to start with, pulling into the lead female position (This, BTW, means nothing as this is a fun run and no official timing is given and people are encouraged to cut the course, LOL). But I made a goal in my head to stay in that position. It was definitely hot out there, especially when we weren’t in the loop (which had a bit of shade). The runway portion was probably the hottest, and I knew my first mile was pretty quick, but my second mile I faded a bit. I pressed on, pushing a bit more and picked it back up to finish “strong” that day. I was happy with it. First female. Birthday run. Done. Cathy came in and we decided to change into our bathing suits, do some shopping, grab an alcoholic beverage (a Conch Cooler) and lay on the beach for a bit. We took some pictures, went to eat lunch (the ship had a vegan and gluten free veggie burger, fries, and veggies sent to the island for me), then headed back to the ship. NO ONE was on there. We showered, changed, took pictures, and then went to a Mixology Class which was SO fun. Later on, birthday dinner with the entire table back together. And double dessert for me. LOVED it. The chef also created dishes for me the entire night to fit my dietary needs and make it super fun. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday…and the runs were a nice bonus!
Friday: REST DAY! DISEMBARKATION DAY & MICKEYS NOT SO SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY AT MAGIC KINGDOM!
I must say, it was nice to not have to try to fit in a run before leaving the ship on Friday morning. We got our luggage packed up, went down to breakfast, which we ate with our entire table again, and then got in the line to get off the ship and go through customs. After that, it was a waiting game for our room at Port Orleans French Quarter to be ready. We grabbed a light lunch at Toasted. We hit the grocery store for water. We walked around the resort until the text came through and we could get into our room. Once that happened, we changed into our costumes for the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (we were Joy & Bing Bong from Inside Out), went to Magic Kingdom, got candy, went to eat at Skippers (we split an appetizer & entree), went on rides, got TONS more candy, walked around…and left at midnight. My legs were tired and my feet were SO sore. I think I got to bed just before 1 am and had to get up for a run on Saturday, now very glad I moved my back-to-back 13 milers to earlier in the week.
Saturday: SPEED WORK – MONA FARTLEKS W/ 1 MILE HARD EFFORT
When I woke up on Saturday morning, the last thing I wanted to do was do speed work. My legs were feeling heavy, the late night and time on my feet this entire trip, but more specifically…the night prior at Magic Kingdom. It was hot and humid outside. But…I knew this needed to happen and I needed to do it now before another long day of wandering around a Disney Park (Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT!). So…I headed out. Mona Fartleks were going to happen on the running path of the Port Orleans resorts…whether I wanted it to or not. Once again, these work like this: 2 mile warm up, 2×90 sec, 4 x 60 sec, 4×30 sec, 4×15 sec (with equal recovery after each at a pace faster than base pace), 1 mile hard effort, 2 mile cool down. I could tell from the start it was going to be a struggle. My warm up was MEH. My intervals felt like a slog. And there were plenty of obstacles along the way (people with luggage, people going to the buses, dogs, carts, strollers, people on the way to breakfast and not paying attention, and any number of all of them all at once). But I did sweat it out and get it done. I knew it was going to be bad. But I also had promised to tack on some strides, so I did that too…and those felt awful and slow and just sucky. I went back to the room, feeling really defeated, but had my spirits lifted with gluten free beignets and coffee. I showered, ate, put on sunscreen, headed to the bus to go to EPCOT…where we walked the rest of the day, once again returning LATE at night with tired legs and very sore feet. I knew I had one more day of runs ahead of me on this trip…
Sunday: INSTRUCTIONS: BASE RUN 6-8 MILES – GOAL 7 MILES + 4-6 STRIDES – EASY EFFORT – TRY NO WATCH AGAIN
Same run as I did on the ship…this time with the strides right at the end. I was hoping this run would go better than the previous one. Ultimately, this would work out to be the same distance as the Mona Fartlek workouts…just without pushing pace. I set out, and surprisingly felt good. I ran the same loops through the Port Orleans Resorts as the previous day. It was much earlier, as I was wearing my reflective gear, simply because it was still very dark out. I had an 9:15 am breakfast in Animal Kingdom, which meant in order to have time to do my run, I’d have to get up early and get it done so I could shower, change, put on sunscreen and…drive to the park. I was happy with how I felt on this. It was still warm and humid, but it’s Orlando, Florida. Of course it is. I said HI to a few people who were out smoking or sitting with their dogs on the trail. Got a lot of compliments on my Nox Gear vest (use code: CELIAC at checkout for 35% off). And I finished it up and was actually sad and disappointed with my overall pace. I felt like I was flying and it was so easy today…but the reality was sobering and frustrating. I did my strides, which felt so hard to push through and do…then went to prepare for the day. This was Animal Kingdom, some resort hopping (with Dole Whip), and then a dinner of Gluten Free Churros and Truffle Poutine. Cathy and I split those, went and rose Flights of Passage at Pandora, and then called it a night. We realized we hadn’t had a single vegetable all day…so we made a point to stop by the food court at the resort and pick up some celery and carrots to split…just to feel a bit better about life. I was thankful that my travel day the following morning was an additional rest day, which made things a little less hectic and crazy…and allowed for pre-airport gluten free beignets. HA!
So…all in all…it was a fun week, but it was hard on the training. I love traveling and taking trips, but with an actual goal this coming race, I had to prioritize my training when I had originally hoped that I wouldn’t even have to pack running clothes if I didn’t want to (let’s face it…I probably would have). It was a struggle. Mentally, the early mornings on vacation were rough, especially with my schedule and my diet being thrown off by late dinners, late nights, and more food than I thought was possible being put in front of me. But, you know…you just make it work. Even my coach said I was doing good fitting the training in while on a cruise and a stay at Disney World (since there was no races this time around) and to just let the bad runs go. Make like Elsa…Let it go! HA!
So, it will be nice to fall back into a “normal” schedule and see how I go as the summer days creep back in and warm us all back up…