Dopey Training: My First Marathon and Gymboss Giveaway {Closed}

This Giveaway has closed.  Check our most recent postings for other great giveaways.

Running for the bay Marathon recap
With my first  marathon in the books, I assume all of you have been waiting with bated breath for my recap. So get comfortable and enjoy.

I attempted to get to bed early Saturday evening for the Sunday morning race. Well, that didn’t work. After about an hour of trying to sleep, I had to get out of bed.  Out into the living room to watch some college football; my beloved Seminoles are crushing Clemson and I get wrapped up into the game. Eventually, I get sleepy and head off to bed.

Getting up at 4:00am is never fun. I am not a morning person. However, we decided that since this marathon is prep for Dopey, getting up early should be part of the equation.

The alarm goes off entirely too early. I throw on my race clothes, fill the hydration vest, and prepare my standard long run breakfast of a whole wheat tortilla wrap with peanut butter and guava jelly (it's a Florida thing). Half asleep and excited at the same time, DisneyBride and I get into the Jeep for the long ride.

The Running for the Bay Marathon is held in Apalachicola, FL, nearly a two hour drive from our house.  This annual event hosts a 50K Ultra, the Marathon, a Half Marathon, a 10K, and a 5K. DisneyBride would be running the half marathon, and we also had some friends there to run the 10K.

Approximately 6:15 we arrive at the race location. It is still pitch dark out. The DJ is already playing music and we head to pickup our bibs and shirts. Since this is a pretty small race, their was no line. Its about this time that we run into some our local running friends and we take a couple of pre-race photos. 

With DisneyBride, she is ready to rock her 1/2 Marathon

As the start time approaches the last minute nerves starts to appear. I didn’t feel completely prepared for this run. My marathon portion of the Dopey training had been focused to peak at the Space Coast Marathon. I've not run more than 23 miles in my training, or ever! This weekend's long run was scheduled to be 23 miles; so I figured worst case: I would walk the last 3.2 miles. I expected this race experience would force me to slow it down at the beginning.  

One should never do anything new on race day, however there would be 2 new things for me at this race. 
  1. I decided to be very conservative in my run-walk strategy. I went with a 1:1 (1 minute run/1 minute walk). In past runs, I usually do 4:1. But I only wanted to finish with a smile on my face and had no time aspirations. 

  2. I used the Gymboss timer. Normally I use the Galloway 26.2 training app (for iPhone) or the Gymboss phone app to keep track of my intervals.

We start to line up as the race will be starting exactly on time. It begins with the announcer sending off the Ultra runners (50k)

Then the marathoners...

oh wait! That's ME! I better get in there!
Here I am!

DisneyBride gives me emotional hugs and kisses me like she won't be seeing me for a month.  We wish each other good luck, and seconds later, I am off.  

Immediately, we hit the first bridge, that has a steady climb.

The sunrise was just beginning as the Half, 10K, and 5K runners climbed.

Once at the top, looking over the causeway towards East Point, FL, you get to run watching the sunrise. 

The weather was beautiful and watching the sunrise over the water (almost) makes you forget that you have to run 26.2 miles. This beauty comes with a price. The course is almost entirely causeway (bridges), this means my nemesis: concrete. 

While on the causeway, I see a familiar face from my church's mens group drive by. I assume he is just down at the coast for a weekend of fishing, and I run on. Then a mile or so later, he is on the side of the road.  He was there supporting someone (I can’t remember who, the brain wasn’t completely functioning that day - why else would one run a marathon?). As luck would have it, she was right behind me. So, I also got to take advantage of his support as he leap-frogged the course to cheer her (us) on. 

He also snapped the only two photos of me actually running on the course.

Here I am mid-bridge

Here I am again, excited to be coming off the bridge and setting foot on the island.
After running the causeway into East Point, you get a short reprieve from running on concrete. Several aid stations and beautiful weather can’t prepare you for the two bridges from East Point to St. George Island.  This stretch is more beautiful scenery, however, the second bridge feels a bit like running up the side of a sky scraper! Wow was it steep! At the top of the bridge, I take a second and realize that I am feeling pretty good.   Then I look ahead and realize I am still approximately 3 miles from the half way point.

At about this point I realize my right knee is not taking the concrete well, and that as soon as I am off the bridge I better run on the grass. All that stuff you read about running on the surface you plan to race on is true. I've been training on trails and I would soon pay the price. On the decline of the bridge, I also strike up a nice conversation with two women from the Orlando Galloway group who were running the Ultra.  About a mile later, they left me in the dust.

On St. George Island, I finally hit the mid point. My muscles feel great, the temperature is still pleasant, and I think to myself, I can do this!  I can now begin to look forward to
Space Coast!  On the way off the island, you can see the bridges back to East Point and beyond that, the causeway to Apalachicola.  This is when I said to myself,“Oh Crap”.  The end of the course looked like it was 30 miles away... 

Just to give it a little perspective - roughly, this is the course route.  Yeah.. that's a LOTTA bridge.

I continue running up the monster bridge, then my knee really starts to revolt. I had expected muscle cramping, not shooting knee pain. My training had apparently given me enough endurance, however, I really was not accustomed to concrete. Since I have absolutely no time expectation for this marathon, I stop listening to the Gymboss and just start walking.

At the top of the bridge, I take a second and just look over the water. This course is beautiful! Just water and a beautiful breeze the whole way. I continue walking, hoping that the knee will start to feel better.

Just a bit further ahead, is a woman who starts skipping down the bridge. SKIPPING! Or it may have been Prancersize.  But really?!?Skipping and side stepping and waving at traffic heading down the bridge.  I just laughed to myself.  What a perfect reminder that this is fun.  

It turns out it is her 1st marathon as well, however, it only became her 1st marathon at the turnaround point for the half.  She just decided to run a full instead of the half!  Most people say marathoners are crazy, but to run it on the spur of the moment - that's truly nuts!  I was impressed to say the least.  We end up running the rest of the race together, chatting about our significant others, work, running, etc.
While talking, I am finally able to start running with some regularity.  Also, I think I may have converted another runner to the Galloway method.  She seemed to like the consistency of the run-walk ratio the Gymboss provided. 

The beginning of the second causeway back to the finish

Further along the same causeway 

Even further along. Did this bridge get LONGER on the way back?

Finally approaching my destination ...

A nice view of the little town of Historic Appalachicola. Our regional oyster capital. 

Am off the bridge at last and am rounding that last turn.  26 mile marker. SO CLOSE!!!
And we made it!!!  5:55 official time
I finished the race with a big smile on my face and I can't wait to do it again at Space Coast on December 1. Mission accomplished!


Here’s a final nice touch. This was a small community race, so after I crossed the finish line, the organizers allowed DisneyBride to award me my medal.

 Showing off our hard earned bling!

Stained glass and enameled 'spinner' medal - one side

other side  - with a 'pearl' on it

The lessons learned seem to be favorites of our readers, so I’ll bestow some additional knowledge to you since you sat through this marathon (ha ha-get it?) post.  

What I did right:

  1. Went with a far more conservative run-walk ratio than usual (1:1)
  2. Ate a reasonable (and familiar) breakfast. Not insubstantial, but not heavy either.
  3. Bought a hydration vest and used it not only for training but for the race itself
  4. Actually remembered to use nutrition at predetermined distances
  5. Started at a comfortable pace.
  6. Listened to my body during the race
  7. Post-run 'redneck ice-bath' at the beach (remember I was two hours from home! but only 10 minutes from a beach so this was a great substitute) Some Running Happily Ever After trivia:  this is also the beach where I proposed to DB

  8. Using the Gymboss timer (see below for our giveaway)
  9. Not having a time goal for the 1st marathon
  10. Talking to fellow runners

What I did wrong:
  1. Didn’t train enough on concrete and asphalt
  2. Probably should have run a 26 mile training run (longest was 23)
  3. Didn’t take any photos during the run (except for the two taken by my friend from church, all the others are from DisneyBride's 1/2 marathon)
  4. I should have run on grass at the first opportunity
  5. Doing new things on race day- fortunately, it didn’t backfire
  6. Should have had something cold to drink in the car for the trip home
  7. Should have eaten something as soon as I crossed the finish line (I finally got hungry about one hour later - after my makeshift ice-bath)  A small mountain of steak fajitas hit the spot. 

Lessons learned:

  • Spend plenty of time on the surface you plan on racing on.  It does make a HUGE difference.  This will probably be the biggest change I make for Space Coast and Dopey.  I definitely need to do most if not all my long training runs on the road.  (Galloway, Yasso, and Higdon recommend at least 60%.)

  • Stop using the phone as an interval timer.  The Gymboss freed up my phone battery and is far less finicky than my phone apps.  Also, it saves power for far more important things- think pics, tweets, phone calls, etc.  Now, since I have taken ownership of DisneyBride's Gymboss , I guess I need to get her a new one.  

  • Talking with runners throughout the race will help you not only keep a reasonable pace, but keep your head occupied.

DisneyBride may do a race review about this event at some point, because while it had many Pros, there were a few Cons as well.

So there you have it. I'm cranking up the back to back long runs and expect I'll be doing a few more races as Dopey Training.  But I'm really glad/ relieved to have my first full under my belt.  Takes a bit of the pressure of having my first one at WDW Marathon Weekend.  Now I intend to enjoy the Space Coast Marathon in just five weeks.

How's everyone else's Dopey Training going? or Goofy?

Anyone doing their first marathon at Disney or Space Coast?

Are you training with a Gymboss?

I really credit my Gymboss with keeping me on track for this race, so we'd like to do a giveaway.  The wonderful folks at Gymboss sent us one to try out, and are allowing us to give one away to one of our lucky readers.

The perfect tool for anyone using the Run/Walk method.
Easy to program.
Easy to use.
If you don't already have one - why not?
Also good for boxing, tabata, and other interval-based training.

Terms of the Giveaway:
1) Giveaway begins Friday October 25 and ends Monday November 4 at midnight. Winner will be announced on this blog, and notified on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.

2) Must be 18 years or older to enter. Must be a U.S. resident. Winner must provide a US mailing address to receive prize.
3) Sign in through Rafflecopter below to enter. With your first entry, the app will only capture your e-mail or facebook name. This is so we can reach you if you win, in accordance with sweepstakes terms. We will ONLY use the info provided to contact you if you win.
4) There are additional opportunities for multiple entries.

5) Winner will receive one (1) Gymboss timer. Cash value $19.99.
6) One winner will be chosen at random using the rafflecopter app below.

7) In the event winner does not respond to contact attempts via e-mail or facebook name provided within a one week period, another winner will be selected at random.

8) Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: No financial compensation was received. We received one Gymboss timer in exchange for this promotional giveaway. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for our readers. All opinions stated on this blog are our own. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I'm trying run/walk intervals as I train for my next race. I'm doing the Disney Wine and Dine Half in a couple of weeks!!


I ran my first 2 marathons and then switched to run/walk intervals and will never go back!


I don't do walk/run intervals, but I decided to enter this giveaway anyway because you mentioned that the Gymboss is also good for tabata. For my next race, I'm going international! It's the Macau Marathon on December 1.


I haven't done timed run/walk intervals... but I'm doing more and more tabata!


Congrats on your first marathon! That's so awesome. I rock the intervals- usually 2:1 or 1:1


I run intervals & it's such a great workout. Definitely pushes me to work harder on days that I do intervals!
Your marathon was awesome! Way to go!


running 26 miles while training probably isn't necessary! You did great and any marathon is a tough feat! I just did my first yesterday and only trained up to 20 miles as my farthest. The last 10k was tough but I had gas in the tank to go! I may think about Walk/Run intervals like Kiersten!

Anonymous mod

I do run/walk intervals but they're not really planned. When I get tired of running, I walk. When I feel like I can run again, I run. :) Congrats to you for running your first marathon! Such beautiful scenery too! You and Disney Bridge are awesome! Thanks for hosting the giveaway!


I'm currently training for the Disney Princess Half & I'm working on trying to run intervals, rather than spending all my gas running as far/as long as I can before breaking to walk. It's hard to do since I'm used to doing 5K races. Any advice/tips?


Try several different ratios until you find the one you like. Remember, the ratio my vary depending on distance. I've tried everything from 5:1 (five minute run, 1 minute walk) to 30:30 (30 second run, 30 second walk). Jeff Galloway has a recommendation chart according to your pace, if you are just starting out at Thanks for following the blog! -DG


Awesome job to both of you. I did 20 miles on the (gasp) treadmill Sunday...You are so right about training on the surface of your race - it does matter.

Still an excellent job and I'll have to look in to that one next year!!! I found it to late this year.


I am working my way out of the intervals. I love them though, as they allow me to run faster.


Do you currently do run/walk intervals? Tell us about your next race! I do but not with Gymboss, it would be interesting to try it with one! My next race is the Silver Falls HM in Silverton, OR tomorrow.

Maryalicia Verdecchia

Anonymous mod

I like to run at a 2:1 interval. I'm really looking forward to starting my training for my first half(will be in March) after I run my 1/4 marathon on Nov. 17th.

Katie Hughes


I don't currently run intervals, but I'm thinking of adding them as I am looking to run my 1st marathon in 2014 and I'm sure they would help me out.


I am still trying to figure out the running/walking interval.

Cant Wait mod

Congrats on your marathon finish!

Anonymous mod

I do tabata workouts at the gym!


Post a Comment