Monday, January 10, 2011

Disney Goofy Challenge Official Results and Overall Perspective

As a quick aside...   I'm currently stuck in South Carolina in a hotel room while outside theres a nasty snow / ice storm raging that made me have to give up the drive home for the day to stay safe.  Weather up the coast this week is awful and its going to be a challenge to get home in a timely fashion.  But being stuck here gives me time to get some thoughts and analysis of the goofy challenge taken care of.

Goofy Challenge Official Results:


First there was the 5K fun run.  Which had no offiical timing... so theres nothing beyond my recollection of the finish clock being around 22 minutes when I crossed the line.  But that was just a fun warmup.  You can read my race report of that event here.  That was really just a fun warmup run.  Really the weekend was all about the goofy challenge, but I figured why not chuck the 5K in there as well and make it that much more challenging.  Plus it was good silly fun.

Half Marathon:

Then there was the half marathon.

Race report for the half can be found here.

Chip Time 1:51:48

Overall Place 1712 / 21953 Top 7%
Gender Place 1306 / 9549 Top 13%
Division Place Males 35-39 219 / 1531 Top 14%
5K Split 26:49
10K Split 54:42
15K Split 1:21:19

Pace 8:32/mile

The half marathon was a race that I paced carefully and very conservatively.  There were a LOT of runners out that day.  I'm surprised I placed so well overall and among the men considering how slow I went on the half.  My best half (1:36) for reference sake would have made the top 2% of the field.  So there were clearly a lot of slower runners and walkers involved in the results.  I just ran the half for fun and as part of the goofy challenge.  I certainly didn't want to really race the half as I knew it would destroy my full results.  So really the above info doesn't mean a lot to me.  My only goal was to run the half sub 2.  Mostly as I didn't want an official result in a half of over two hours and I also didn't want to be on my feet that long.  I figured sub 2 but not too fast was a good balance between not being on my feet for too long and not racing so hard as to negatively affect my full marathon goals the next day any more than running 13 miles the day before a marathon does already.  I'd say mission accomplished on that one... but more on that below.
Full Marathon:

Race Report can be found here. 

And finally the full marathon.  Heres the official results:

Chip Time 3:35:53

Overall Place 789 / 13522 Top 5%
Gender Place 676 / 7255  Top 9%
Division Place Males 35-39 124 / 1302 Top 9%
5 Mile 40:01
10 Mile 1:22:18
Half Split 1:48:07
20 Mile 2:45:28

Pace 8:14/mile

So lets take a minute and look at those numbers.  I have to say I'm pretty excited to be top 5% overall and within the top ten percent of the men!  Now I realize that the Disney marathon may not be the most competitive of marathons as its one often run for fun, but there were plenty of serious runners out there.  So I'm still very pleased with that.  Especially considering I just ran a half marathon the day before!  That and 3:35 is still very much a respectable time.  It also has me thinking that perhaps an eventual BQ is a possibility for me.  I have to run a 3:15 to get into Boston currently.  Which is 20 minutes faster than that.  But if I can run a 3:35 on tired legs I think I can certainly shave potentially up to ten minutes off of that.  So thats a 3:25.  If I can do that... then maybe 3:15 is a possibility in the future?  Its a longshot... but I won't rule it out as a possibility.  I'm certainly getting faster every year I continue to train so I'm not going to give up on it!  The other thing I'm rather pleased with is the split.  In fact its a negative split, although not by much.  But still... negative splitting a marathon is hard enough, doing it after running a half marathon the day before is especially something to be proud of if you ask me.  I was falling apart at the end and I fought through it and managed the negative split.  I'm really psyched about that! 

Overall Reflections on the Goofy Challenge:

Six months before the goofy challenge it seemed like a great idea and a fantastic fun endurance challenge.  Plus it fit into my work / training calendar.  So why not?  Originally I thought it would be fun too to just run a marathon to complete it and not focus on time at all.  I figured if the challenge was just to run a half and a full on back to back days I'd ignore time and just take the experience in.  At least that was the plan iniitially.  But I should know myself better than that and it wasn't long before race brain kicked in and I was shooting for a new PR.  How I thought I could run a race and ignore my time I don't know.  My brain just isn't wired that way.  Which is a shame really...    I think for me to run a marathon just for fun I need to run it with a friend.  I think thats the only way I can let my own pace goals go.  So if I pace someone else, or just run it to keep them company I think I can do it just for fun.  But on my own clearly I lack that ability!

On the morning of the half and especially the full marathon the goofy challenge seemed like a ridiiculously bad idea!  What was I thinking!!!  was the thought that kept going through my brain.  And yet now in retrospect I'm thrilled that I did it.  How could I not be considering I got through the challenge and got a new PR out of the deal?  I think that fear of the unknown is the exciting part of the goofy.  The feat you won't get through the second race is intense and at the time frightening as all get out.  In retrospect though that fear and excitement and panic was all part of the fun.  Its certainly a unique endurance challenge and one I'm proud to have completed.  Does it serve a real purpose or help me in any real fitness / training way that benefits me?  Well you can argue that both ways I think.  Physically I don't know that it really offers any benefit to race on multiple days like that.  I don't think I'm any stronger or faster because of it.  Mentally however I think that race is going to give me a lot of confidence going forwards.  I imagine that the start of the marathon in my Ironman later this year I'll be feeling a lot like I was at the start of this one.  Scared!  However the confidence I have from knowing I can go out and race on tired legs like that and set a PR is going to give me a huge boost of confidence come Ironman day.  I'm still going to be scared, but I'll be less scared knowing I pulled the goofy off.  Meeting new endurance challenges always gives me more confidence when I try a further distance or another challenge.  So the goofy will certainly offer me some benefit in that regard.  The other way in which I think it was a good idea is that I now have a TON of mental confidence.  I pushed through more pain in that marathon than I ever have before in any race I've ever done.  So knowing I can push myself despite being up against that much pain and discomfort is a HUGE mental boost and will certainly come in handy on Ironman day.

So all in all do I regret doing the goofy or wish I'd done anything differently?  HELL NO!  : )

So You Want to Do the Goofy?:

So after getting through this thing what would I tell other runners to do if they are considering it.  The first thing I'd say is go for it!  If ever there is a place to do such a thing its at Disney.  The atmosphere, crowd support, flat course, and distractions on the course make it a great place to try such a thing.  I'm failry certain there aren't much better conditions to try such a thing. 

What would I recommend for training?  I thought about this a lot as I was putting my training plan together.  I considered prefacing all my long runs with a run half that length the day before.  But I couldn't come up with a reason or a benefit to doing that.  I just felt like it was just begging for an injury.  So I just followed a standard (abeit challenging) marathon training program.  I did three twenty milers in the end and I think that certainly helped.  I also only ran three times a week as I wanted to fit cycling and swimming in among my run training as well.  And I certainly cycled enough to cover the missed day or two of running a week.  So really I don't know that theres anything you need to do different for the goofy other than have completed several marathons or several endurance type events before you take on the challenge.  You also have to be a little twisted I think too.  In my case I'd done two marathons, a half iron, and bunch of shorter races and triathlons in there.  Which I think is the bare minumum to take on such a challenge as the goofy.  Really I think I'd have been better off waiting another year or two to take it on.  The only thing I think I'd do different is go with a higher run training volume.  I think it may have felt easier had I been running 40 mile weeks instead of 25-30 mile weeks.  I will close this post by saying that completing it is a huge confidence boost, it was insanely fun despite being brutal in the moment at times, and its an experience I'll forever cherish and enjoy.  I even ponied up the cash for the fancy frame that holds all three medals, your race bibs and some photos as I want to remember this challenge for a very long time.

Whats Next:

So what endurance challenge do you follow such a thing with?  Well howbout an Ironman!!!!   Sounds like a good one to me!  And assuming my legs survive the 2011 season what crazy thing do I have in store for 2012?  Well perhaps another Ironman?  A long distance swim?  An ultramarathon such as a 50 miler is also high on the list!  So many fun challenges ahead of me.  As long as I'm healthy I'll keep setting my sights higher and higher!

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