Tag: goofy challenge

How to Avoid a Bruised Toe[nail]

Right after I got back from the Goofy Challenge, I was talking to a friend about my toe and she asked me why I thought the injury had happened. After explaining to her what I assume to be the perfect storm of causes she told me that I should write a blog post about it. To be honest, my first thought was “no one is going to want to read about my disgusting toe situation” but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that you all might want to read this post so you can avoid having to deal with the gross toe situation that I did. So here goes the toe injury causes post (with ways to prevent this of course)… sorry for the toe talk and I promise no gory pictures!



1. Inserts- After my heel started to bother me in December, I picked up a pair of inserts and put them in my running shoes. I didn’t pay any attention to how thick they were and they didn’t seem to bother me running in the colder weather. However, when I got to Florida and it was hot and humid, the inserts (which are thicker than normal inserts) did not leave enough room in the toe box for my swollen feet causing my toe to bang around (and hit the top of my shoe) in the toe box more than normal. To avoid this, be aware of how thick your inserts and insoles in before purchasing them and placing them in your shoe. If you think there might be an issue, consider finding a thinner insert, thinner socks, and going up half a shoe size.

2. Swollen feet- Speaking of swollen feet, the humidity and heat along with being on my feet all day Friday and running the half on Saturday definitely caused my feet to swell up more than usual. Again, this caused my toes to hit the sides and top of my shoe more frequently than usual. To avoid this, buy your shoes half a size too big to allow for swelling. I’m kicking myself for not doing this since I usually buy half a size too big in the summer and true to size in the winter and I totally forgot for Goofy.

3. Long toenails- You want to keep your toenails clean and short so they can’t catch on anything like your sock or the next toe over. Let’s just say, my big toenails were not even close to being as short as they are supposed to be and that I had kind of forgotten about them in all of my sock and boot wearing in Chicago. Yikes. To avoid this, keep your toenails short!

4. Wet feet- Wet feet can be caused by a few things like sweating, rain, pouring water down yourself, etc. Having wet feet increases the friction between your toes and makes you more prone to blisters. If you start to feel blisters, you might change your gait or the way your foot hits the ground in order to alleviate some pain which makes you more prone to smacking the top of your foot on the top of your shoe. To avoid this, wear sweat wicking socks or brands like injinji that aim to prevent blisters and when pouring water over your head, try to avoid getting it in your shoes.

5. Compression gear- Compression gear is important, don’t get me wrong, but if you’re running two back to back races, be careful which compression gear you wear. After the half on Saturday, I made recovery my priority. Within 10 minutes of finishing the race, I changed out of the socks I ran in and into my compression socks. When we got back to the hotel, I showered, put my compression socks back on, and wore them all day. My calves felt great the next day, but my feet didn’t have the time to really dry out, leaving the skin tender and ready to blister on Sunday. I never would have thought it would be an issue but after searching for Goofy related injuries, the high rate of blisters came up and many people pointed to this sock issue as a contributing factor. To avoid this, wear compression gear but make sure to take your socks off and let your feet “dry out” for a bit.


So yeah, while my bruised toe and toenail was quite the traumatic injury (I really don’t like toes) it healed pretty quickly (approximately 9 days) and could have been completely avoided had I known and paid attention to the five things above. Live and learn I guess!

Have you ever had an injury that could have been avoided (not overuse)? Do you buy running shoes true to size or do you obey the 1/2 size rule?

{Goofy Challenge} Recovery

You know those runners who can race a marathon every other weekend? I am definitely not one of them. My body NEEDS rest and in a given week, in addition to slower recovery runs, I almost always give my legs one day off from running. So this new back-to-back marathon thing is kind of new to me. I’ve run a fall and a spring race before but I’ve never done both a winter and a spring marathon.

I figured recovery from Goofy would be key in my training for Boston so after walking around Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure on Monday, I took four days off from exercise. I slept in, I ate whatever I wanted without worrying about how the food I ate was going to affect my running, and I did a lot of lounging on the couch. Of course this wasn’t easy. In typical runner fashion, as soon as I realized that my toe was bugging me, I wanted to run (don’t you always want to run so much more when you know you physically can’t?). I also felt a little lethargic and was itching to go to the gym. However, I figured the best thing for me was to be lazy for a few days. Training for and running a marathon is not easy and I’m sure my body deserved at least one week of normalcy before diving right back into training again.


Sonic likes it when we lounge on the couch

By Saturday, my legs felt a lot less stiff and my toe was finally starting to feel better. I put on my old Brooks with the hole in the toe box (to give my toe more room) and headed to the gym for a light cycling session. I sat on the bike and casually pedaled away for an hour while reading a book. It wasn’t an intense workout in the slightest but I broke a sweat and got my legs moving again. On Sunday, I went back to the gym and did the same cycling routine + 45 minutes easy on the elliptical. The workout felt long enough to emulate a “long run” with a much lighter intensity.


I took Monday off in preparation for starting to run again this week and then on Tuesday I nervously walked to the gym. I felt stiff and out of shape from not running in over a week but I knew the feeling was pretty unfounded and would go away quickly. I got on the treadmill and started to run and was pleasantly surprised to not be in pain or feel too tight. I kept my pace on the slower side for me and just reminded myself that even though I’m starting a new training cycle, this week is still about recovery!

I’m really starting to ramble now (sorry!) but my original point was that recovery is different for everyone. A few days off from exercise along with not eating 100% clean should not greatly impact your stamina, weight, or overall health– especially if your body truly needs a break. In fact, doing those things for a few days may actually be the “healthy” choice.

How do you recover after your races? I typically run a few miles the week after to loosen up my legs and then slowly add more mileage over time. This cycle is the odd one out.
Any tips for training for back-to-back marathons like this?

Final Thoughts on the Goofy Challenge

Overall time (half + full): 5:35:27 (8:32 min/mile)
Overall place (unofficial): 329/8602
Gender place (unofficial): 45/4129


I definitely underestimated the difficulty of the Goofy Challenge. I figured that if I trained for a marathon, the half marathon on Saturday would be easy and wouldn’t affect the full on Sunday. I was wrong- by Sunday morning, my legs were already feeling stiff and by the time I hit mile 15 of the marathon my quads were screaming.

Despite the fact that the challenge was hard, I actually really enjoyed myself. I was never running alone but I also wasn’t running in a huge crowd (I think this was because I was in Corral A, I heard it was much more packed for the other corrals). There was a lot of entertainment on the course and a water station, first aid tent, and porta potties at least every 2 miles.

I also learned a lot about myself over the two days:

  • I really like the half marathon distance. I hadn’t run a half since 2010 and I really enjoyed it.
  • I need to have something to eat within 30 minutes of starting a race. Preferably a Clifshot with caffeine. The Clif bar I had before the marathon did nothing for me.
  • I tend to underestimate my abilities as a runner. Both days I lined up in the second half of Corral A only to weave around a lot of runners for the first few miles.
  • I need to work on fueling during races. What worked for training runs did not work once I got hot and dizzy.
  • I am not a warm weather runner. Even 70 degrees really affects my pace and how I feel.
  • Using a porta potty during a race is not scary or super time consuming. I think it took me about 20 seconds TOPS.
  • I am smart about listening to my body during races. When I started to feel chills and dizzy I slowed down and walked most of a mile. If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have been able to run the last 5 miles of the race.
  • I’ve grown a lot as a runner. In 2011 when I ran Chicago and it was warmer than usual, I remember wanting to walk off the course because I felt so miserable. During the Goofy Challenge, I wanted to finish and I wanted to enjoy the experience.
  • I can run through pain. I felt a blister form on my toe around mile 8 of the marathon and then pop and I also badly bruised my big toe/toenail somewhere near mile 20. However, I was able to finish the race without stopping at a first aid tent.

With my legs hurting and the warm weather I was definitely not running in ideal conditions but I managed to slow down when necessary, fuel properly (well… kinda), and hydrate so that I could finish the race with a smile on my face and I’m proud of myself for handling the challenge well :).


I was also incredibly impressed with how fast my legs healed. I was definitely more stiff and sore than I am after a marathon but within four days, my legs felt ready for a shakeout run. Unfortunately, my toe really bothered me all week so I ended up taking five days off and then lightly cross-training Saturday and Sunday. With Boston training starting this week, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Many people have asked me if I would run the challenge again and to be honest, I’m not sure. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t run it alone again. I’m glad I ran it and I proved that I could do it but if I’m going to do another high mileage “challenge” I’d much rather it be an ultra. However, I can’t say I’d turn down a friend if she or he wanted to run Goofy in a few years for fun. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to run it with a friend and stop for character pics.

Do you want to do the Goofy Challenge? What have you learned about yourself as a runner?

Non-Running Florida Happenings

I still owe you guys one last post on the Goofy Challenge but I need a little bit more time to process my final thoughts on the event. So for now, I figured I’d share some non-running things we did in Orlando.

While there was a lot of running going on in Florida, we also took some time to do some other things like go to the parks and Downtown Disney.

On Friday, we woke up early and headed to Magic Kingdom. Ian had never been to Disney World before and I knew that he had to see the quintessential park.


We started our morning in the new Fantasyland, then went on many of the big (i.e. Space Mountain) and not so big (i.e. It’s a Small World) rides. Many of the attractions had been updated since I was last in Florida and it was interesting to see Disney from an adult’s perspective. It was still really fun!


I also had to buy this little beauty of a backpack because I forgot to bring something to carry my stuff around the park. I looked like I was five years old.

Mid-afternoon, my mom, Ian, and I headed to Epcot (my friend wanted to stay in Magic Kingdom). We went on a few of the rides (hello Spaceship Earth– my fave!) and then grabbed dinner at one of the restaurants in Japan. There’s nothing quite like carbo loading with sushi :).


On Saturday after the half we took a cab to a nearby Publix to pick up some food to keep in our room. While this plan was good in theory, it was executed poorly. First of the cab was expensive (we couldn’t figure out if we’d actually saved money…) and second we ended up stranded at Publix waiting for a return cab for over an hour. Let’s just say I was glad we had groceries and I definitely dug into quite a few items to keep the hunger monster at bay. We ended up laughing about it later but our Publix journey was definitely the big event of Saturday.

Post-marathon, we headed to Downtown Disney for the post-race party. Runners were awarded discounts at various shops and restaurant so we walked around the area before heading to our dinner reservation at Wolfgang Puck. One of my big goals for the trip was to find Babycakes, a vegan and gluten free bakery located in Downtown Disney. It took a little searching but we finally found it and I stocked up on a cupcake, a piece of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and two chocolate chip cookies. They all disappeared at an alarming rate but I have to admit the cookies were my favorite.


On Monday, we went to Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios and I FINALLY got to see Harry Potter World!


We got to the park super early and fortunately the lines for the HP ride and stores weren’t too long. Obviously, I had to try a butterbeer too! Ian and I split one of the frozen butterbeers and while it was really sweet it was definitely worth trying.


I just loved all of the little details in HP world and I probably could have spent all day in that section of the park!


We did the majority of the rides in both parks including the Shrek 4D experience and the Despicable Me ride (love). It was exhausting (especially on stiff legs) but it was nice to be up and outside in the beautiful weather.


Stiff leg alert!

I’m really glad that even with all of the running I did over the weekend, I was still able to enjoy some of what Florida has to offer. It probably wasn’t the smartest thing for me to be on my feet all day Friday but I’m pretty sure I would have gone crazy sitting in a hotel room all day resting up for the races. Plus, the weather last weekend was just too gorgeous to sit inside!

Have you ever been to HP world? What’s your favorite Disney World ride/attraction?


Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race Recap

Both the half and the full marathon started at 5:30 and as the half was the day before the full, my friend and I decided to use the half as a test run for full marathon. We woke up at 2:45 am (1:45 Chicago time), got dressed, grabbed our pre-run meal, and headed downstairs to the shuttle bus.


I had originally planned on wearing my arm sleeves but I ended up leaving them in gear check because of the abnormally warm weather last weekend (when we left our hotel room it was almost 65 degrees!). One of the nicest things about staying on Disney property was the free shuttle that we could ride right to Epcot. It was really nice to sit back, think about the race, and eat my rice cake with peanut butter without having to worry about driving and parking.

We got to Epcot with more than enough time to spare and ended up sitting down and enjoying the pre-race party for about 20 minutes before heading through bag check into the runners-only area. [One thing I have to say about the Disney races is that they were both SO well organized. Runners had to walk through bag check to get to the start/runner's only area and after the finish to get to the spectators. This made it so easy to check a bag and there were so many volunteers that I never waited in line. Amazing.] In the runners-only area, we used the porta potty and then hung out until we were cleared to walk the 20 minutes to the start area.

We arrived a few minutes before 5 am and I hightailed it over to my corral which was supposedly closing at 5:00. Once inside Corral A I sat down, stretched, had a Clif Shot (it had been 2 hours since I’d eaten) and then before I knew it we were off.

A lot of people complain that the Disney courses are boring, a lot of the mileage is on highways and back roads and very little is through the parks. However, I didn’t really seem to mind it. There was a lot of highway running but there were so many people running around me at all times plus the race had done an awesome job having some kind of exhibit, character (for pictures), or other entertainment at least every mile that I really didn’t mind the course. I kept telling myself that I couldn’t believe I was running in shorts and a tank top in January!


Like I mentioned, the race started in Epcot and then headed 5 miles north before we entered Magic Kingdom. We ran in through the main gate and then down Main Street U.S.A and into Tomorrowland. Main Street was all lit up and looked so pretty (it was still dark out). I also got a huge kick of energy from all of the spectators. We took a turn into Fantasyland, ran through Cinderella’s Castle, then went into Liberty Square, Frontierland, and then exited the park. We ran south another 5 miles, entered Epcot, ran to the lake, turned around, exited the park, and finished.

Besides having to pee for most of the race, I felt really good. I kept thinking to myself that I wished the marathon had happened first because I knew that I had a PR in my legs. I ran a strong half but kept my pace very comfortable so I wouldn’t be too tired on Sunday and even though I didn’t stop for any character pictures (I needed to run the entire half for a confidence booster after being sick all week), I was smiling for the entire race. It was an incredibly fun time!

My official finish time was 1:43:45 (7:55 min/mile,12 in my division). Which I think was the perfect pace for this race– it was fast enough that I really enjoyed myself but not too fast that it tired me out for Sunday.

I absolutely loved the half marathon and would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun, relatively flat course. I think it would be a wonderful first half marathon to run or a great race to run with friends. The field is less competitive and more fun-oriented and the characters really make the time fly! Plus, you get an awesome t-shirt and a finisher’s medal!


The bling makes it all worth it :).

Also, the course/race was incredibly organized, the volunteers were super friendly, there were plenty of porta potties and good post-race snacks. What more could you ask for?


After the race, I sat down, put on my compression socks, and my mom and I waited for my friend to finish. Once she was done, we headed back to the hotel and relaxed for most of the day. I tried to put recovery first and even wore my compression socks down to the pool– I was starting to get really nervous about the full marathon!