Friday, January 25, 2013


39.3 Miles of Running in Two Days!
After years of dreaming, and months of preparing, our dream of running and completing the Goofy Challenge finally came true!!!!
In the wee morning hours of Friday, January 11, we arrived in Disney World. After some sleep we headed over to the race expo at the ESPN Sports Complex. There we received our running bibs and awesome long sleeve tech shirts (picture below.) We spent a bit of time in Animal Kingdom and then off for an early bedtime.
Saturday we had to wake up at 2:30 AM in order to eat and catch our bus to the starting corral for the half marathon. I was very nervous waiting to start. Each group of runners receives a fireworks send off. We started running in the dark. The route was filled with bands, people cheering, Disney characters and displays. For the half marathon you start running at Epcot, run to the Magic Kingdom and then back to Epcot. At the Magic Kingdom they bring you into the park so that you run up towards the castle right down Main Street, then around the back of the castle, and then right through it! How awesome!
Entering the rear of the castle, just before running through it.
Yes, the buglers were up there!
I had so much energy on Saturday. I kept trying to run faster! Usually by mile 10, I am slowing down, but not this day. My husband kept saying, save it for tomorrow.
Sunday morning, the day of the big event arrived quickly. (I had never run a marathon before.)
Once again we were up and moving by 2:30. I was even more nervous in the starting corral, but when the fireworks went up, off we went. The beginning of the full marathon was much the same as yesterday's half. Which was quite nice, it felt good to run a familiar route and I enjoyed the Magic Kingdom again. After running through the Magic Kingdom we ran a lap on Disney's Speedway, through the Animal Kingdom (several animals were out with caregivers in the park), to ESPN Sports Complex (where we ran on the track and around the baseball diamond), over to Hollywood Studios, along the boardwalk area, and into Epcot. Well I can tell you, I was never so happy to see Epcot before, but then I remembered it was a full 2 miles yet to the finish line. Up until this point we had run every mile (except for walking through water stops ~ both days were very hot and it was important to drink and refuel carefully) and I really wanted to say I had run it all. So even though I felt like I couldn't go another step, I kept running. My husband was great, he kept urging me on. Finally he said there's the finish line right in front of us, and it was there, but it sure looked far away. Well we crossed that line holding hands, arms up over our heads! We had done it!
The medals were amazing. The pictures don't do them justice and they are very heavy.
Race shirts and Medals
I can't believe its over. It was the most amazing experience ever. There just aren't words for it. If you ever think you might want to do it ~ go for it! I promise you won't regret it.
Yes, we were able to walk Sunday night after finishing the marathon!
I will never, ever forget this experience.
Go for your dreams!
I want to end with a very special thanks to my husband who coached me and put up with me through some very long, and rough training runs. Thanks ~ you are the BEST!


Saturday, January 5, 2013
Goofy Training Complete: 2012 A Year Of Running

 Sorry I have been missing, but Goofy training, holidays with my family and teaching my amazing first graders was all I could do these last few weeks. In 2010, my husband and I began our quest to run an event in each of the 50 states. The Goofy Challenge (a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday) has been on our bucket list since. In one short week we are about to attempt to conquer the Goofy! 
2012: A Year Of Running
Viginia is for Lovers 14k & 1.4 mile Run
State #6
VA Beach 14K

February 11, 2012

We went South to escape the PA winter. Yes, that is snow on the Palm trees. It was a very large, well run event. The course was flat and ended in a heated field house complete with band and food!

State #7
Long Beach Island, NJ  5K

April 14, 2012

Sprint for Life takes place on LBI a place where I spent many happy childhood vacations. It starts by the bay and runs along a nice flat course. The prizes are ceramic pieces made by local school children. Too bad I am too slow to win one.

State #8
Illinois 5K

August 9, 2012
The fun thing about this one was it was run in the early evening at a small, local fair.

States # 9 & 10
Minnesota to Wisconsin Half Marathon
August 11, 2012
Yes, I know we kind of cheated on this one, but we did run a half marathon and spent plenty of time in both states. I ran a PR this day with the help of my husband! This is an amazing run. A slightly hilly course that runs over the large bridge connecting the 2 states.

While in the Great Lakes Region we took some time to enjoy the sights. I hope to get back there again someday It is truly a beautiful place. Here are some pictures
The UP of Michigan ~ amazing I never would have believed a lake could look just like the ocean.

The highlight of our trip ~ a wildness canoe/camping trip through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota. This is a lifetime adventure if you ever get the chance grab it. It was physically demanding, but the scenery was worth all the hard work. We booked our trip through Clearwater Lake Lodge.

Another beautiful sight in the UP of Michigan ~ Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We had scheduled to view the coast by boat, but the water was too rough so we ended up driving and hiking. Still beautiful.

The highlight of the canoe trip ~ while looking for the next portage at a beaver dam, I walked up on this moose!!!!!!!!!

Twisted my poor husband's arm really hard and he took me to see "The Mall."

State #11
Michigan 5K and 10K

Saturday, August 18, 2012
Okay so maybe we cheated a bit with Wisconsin and Minnesota, but we made up for it in Michigan. In the morning we ran the Sleepy Bear Dunes 5 Miler. Then stayed to hike and enjoy the dunes for a while. After lunch we drove across the state and ran the Panda Bear Night Run 10K. Sleepy Bear Dunes is a great place to see and visit, but I had a rough run. The 10K went great at night and I had a PR! My husband won his age class!

Sleepy Bear Dunes 5 miler

Alma College, Michigan

Sleepy Bear Dunes

                             Santarelli Memorial 5K
                              Cross-Country Race

                                                        at Lorain County Community College Ohio

                                                                                       State #12
                                                                                     Alma, Ohio
                                                                          Sunday, August, 19, 2012

This was a difficult run for me, maybe too many runs in a row. It was also run on a cross country course and most, well really all, of my running is done on roads. Couldn't believe how flat it was there. In fact it was so flat that the college added a manmade hill to the course!

On the way home from this amazing trip we drove right past Punxsutawney, PA ~ home of the famous Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil!
So once again I twisted my poor husband's arm and he kindly obliged my craziness and took me to see the real live groundhog used on Groundhog Day.
This is where Phil lives, right in the window of the town's library.
Groundhog statues are all over town!

State #13
Delaware 10K
September 30, 2012

Our final state of 2012! A nice run, but close to my favorite Delaware Beach so we did the run and headed over for a beach visit and some Grotto Pizza.

We each ran a mud run just for fun in the middle of all this. If you haven't tried one go ahead and do it they are loads of fun!

My Tough Mudder Husband!

My sister-in-law Elaine made this one a ton of fun!

There you have it a great year of running ~ 671 miles for me and 895 miles for my husband ~ our most ever!
The Goofy in Florida will be state #14. I sure hope I am ready, the training just about did me in!

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  1. Hi Maria,
    I loved reading this section about all of your runs- the Goofy Challenge in particular! I love to run, too. My biggest run was the NYC marathon :) You are an inspiration!
    The Teacher’s Chair

    1. WOW - NYC marathon! That's fantastic. Thanks for visiting.

  2. WOW I am impressed with all your running! Just found your awesome blog! I'm your newest follower:)

    Science for Kids Blog

  3. Hi Maria,

    I discovered this blog through you following me and I'm super excited to find another teacher-runner! I'm in awe that you did the Goofy challenge! The longest I've run is 18 miles but I'm hoping to try and do marathon training this summer....I'm curious - do you have any suggestions for training plans?

    Teaching Voracious Learners