December 30, 2014
What. A. Year.
Seriously. I did a lot of running.
When I decided in 2013 that it would be fun to run all of the runDisney races in one year, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. And, I had no idea that Disney would add races like they did. To further my craziness, I decided that I would run 52 total races for the year and that 14 of those had to be half marathon distance or longer. I had a lot of people ask me why I chose those numbers. Well, 52 races in a year averages to one per week and 14 halves or longer for 2014. It really seemed like a good idea at the time.
The runDisney challenge alone would have been an amazing accomplishment. And, I’m ecstatic that I completed it even though it cost me a bajillion dollars. It is an experience that I really can’t put into words. I know there are many other people who have done this; I’m not the first and I won’t be the last. Although, I have seen many people that have said they have done all the races in one calendar year and they really haven’t because they didn’t do the Expedition Everest Family Challenge (this is a team event but it’s still a runDisney event in the calendar year, so in my book, it counts towards the challenge).
In 2014, there were eight runDisney race weekends. In total, there were 21 individual races (just races; not challenges). With all of the challenges, it worked out to be 27 medals and 167.5 miles (the Expedition Everest races were both counted as 5k races even though the Family Challenge has no official distance and the Challenge is a 5k followed by a scavenger hunt). The medal count included eight inaugural medals including Dopey, Glass Slipper Challenge, and the pink Coast2Coast among others. It also included the standard Coast2Coast since the pink Coast2Coast could only be earned for doing Princess and Tinker Bell.
Running 14 half marathons (or longer) wasn’t really too bad either; note that I actually ran 15 for the year. The toughest of all of those was running the two on back-to-back days when the second one was a trail race (the first trail race I’ve ever done). Running a half marathon every 3.5 weeks isn’t too bad if you’re in race shape. Two of my 15 were actually full marathons and that certainly made it a bit tougher, but still doable overall. The real caveat is that I had almost four months where I had no endurance distance races; Florida is just too hot! So, I really crammed those 15 races into about eight months.
Running 52 total races wasn’t quite as challenging as I thought it would be. Note, none of my virtual races counted as races; only actual races counted towards the total. I ran 59 total races. I got creative with some like the Aching Quad because it is four separate races. Dopey, Dumbo Double Dare, and other series races also gave my count a boost thanks to multiple races over a few days. This made it so that I didn’t have to find too many in the hot Florida summer.
In the end, I think the biggest issue was sticking to a consistent training schedule. Most of the time I had a training run scheduled on a race day. A lot of the times, the mileage for the race and the training run were not similar. So, I did the race. The trouble became when the race was a shorter distance than the race. I tried to make sure I stuck to the mileage I needed on my training plan. But, a lot of times it was difficult because of race travel. For example, during Space Coast weekend, I needed to do a back-to-back run that included 23 miles on the Sunday that was the Space Coast marathon. I ended up cutting my Saturday mileage short so that I could get to the expo for packet pick up. As a result, I don’t think I feel as ready for Dopey and Star Wars as I did for Dopey and Tinker Bell. But, we’ll see.
I think my goal was ambitious; probably a little too ambitious. My cross training at the gym certainly suffered because of my race goals. I’ve noticed that I’ve put on weight; both by the scale and by the fit of my clothes; and I just don’t feel as strong as I did at the beginning of 2014. As I head into next year, I am certainly re-evaluating my plans and my weight loss journey. I have no intentions of being as aggressive with my race goals. And, I know I want to refocus on cross training so that I can improve my running and drop the weight I’ve gained.
Was my 2014 journey fun? Indeed it was. I have a ton of race shirts that will make a nice blanket. But, that was a one and done thing.
For those of you that may have added up all the costs I spent, well, I don’t even want to think about it. That said, I added it all up and the number is just dumb and I’m not even going to put it in writing. I pretty much spent a small fortune on races. I had a great time with the challenge I gave myself though and that experience is truly priceless.
Until next year…gotta run.