iRun_for_a_PBArmy Run Goals

Categories: General Running
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: September 16, 2014

The countdown is on to the Ottawa Army Run half-marathon. This is the race I’ve been training for all summer. And it will be a test to see if all this Jack Daniels training really worked.

I have mixed emotions going into this race: I’ve trained hard, but some setbacks in the last month have left me with doubts. 

I know that I’ve trained harder than I ever have for a half-marathon, According to my Dailymile stats, I’ve run over 560km as part of this program since May 20, 2014. And I did the “quality” runs diligently. I’ve never done intervals like this before and I can definitely feel the benefit. But, despite this epic mileage and effort, I’m worried that it has all been lost in the last month.

My summer 2014 running mileage by week according to Dailymile
My summer 2014 running mileage according to Dailymile

My last phase of training was not good. Although I quite enjoyed the Disneyland Half-Marathon, it took a large chunk out of my training time. And then I got sick which robbed me of more training time. I know that you lose fitness when not exercising, so I hope that I didn’t undo months of fitness with a couple weeks of sniffles. 



  • A Goal: <1:59:59
    I used to say that I wanted a “sub-2 hour half-marathon.” At the Disneyland Half, someone introduced me to a new term: Seeing a “1” before my half-marathon time. I’m going to line up with the 2:00 run/walk pacer and see how it goes!Race Pace: 5:41 min/km
    Walk adjusted Race Pace:
     5:27 min/km


Can you see me? iRun Magazine, June 2012, Page 14
Can you see me? iRun Magazine, June 2012, Page 14

Race Pace: 5:51 min/km
Walk adjusted Race Pace:
 5:36 min/km


  • C Goal: <2:10:43
    This was my race time for the 2011 Ottawa Half-Marathon and my last race time in Ottawa. The race itself is story that I will not publish, but am happy to share with anyone in person.
    This number also sticks with me because I received a postcard with this time about a year after the race as they were advertising for the 2012 race. I’ve kept that postcard on my desk ever since.

    Postcard showing my Ottawa Half-Marathon 2011 time
    Postcard showing my Ottawa Half-Marathon 2011 time

    Race Pace: 6:12 min/km
    Walk adjusted Race Pace:
     5:57 min/km


  • D Goal: <2:17:39
    This is my time at the Chilly Half-Marathon in March 2014 and the best time I’ve had in over two years. This is the benchmark I’m really comparing against. I will be judging the effectiveness of my training this season against this time.

    Race Pace: 6:31
    Walk adjusted Race Pace: 6:17 min/km


  • E Goal: Don’t Crap My Pants (h/t Nicole)



Part of me is tempted to take this race easy since I will have another shot during the Rock and Roll Las Vegas Half-marathon in November. I’m trying to banish those thoughts. This is the goal race! I’m going to leave it all on the course! There is no other race. There is no next time. This is my time to perform!!

I worry about my leg tingling coming back during the race. Warm up will be critical. It almost seems silly to run an extra 3-5km to warmup, but I think that will be necessary.

I will line up with the 2:00 run/walk pacer and try to stay with him/her as long as possible.

It’s just 11 intervals of 10 minutes. Just 11 of these ten-minute intervals. If it was in my schedule it would like this:  


I’m going to run with my iPod. I feel like I’ll need the distraction and motivation during the later parts of the race. I’ve been practicing with my Yurbuds and they don’t interfere with my form.

Some good advice from my first half-marathon coach Andrew Mikhail:

Have fun with it. Keep smiling like you always do. You might even surprise yourself

The cooler fall temperatures around 10 degrees are my favourite. Unfortunately, the long-range forecast says the temperature will rise just in time for the race, with rain, and a humidex near 26. Not ideal, but still better than Disneyland’s race weather!

I’m trying to stay well-rested this week. I have no ingrown toenails, soreness, or injuries. And I fully expect to be over the cold by the weekend.

I’ve signed up using the weird Sportstats Live Race Alerts tool. Hopefully it shares good news when I run on Sunday!



Wearing my “iRun for a PB” button on my backpack

Being sick sucks!Unscheduled Flu Downtime

Categories: General Running
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: September 12, 2014

I’ve been down with flu-like symptoms for about a week and it sucks! This unscheduled downtime makes me jittery like a taper, and also worried I won’t be at my best to compete at the Ottawa Army Run next week.

I get a feeling that this illness is related to my Disneyland trip and the jetlag and temperature differences that subjected me to. The odd flight times, early race, change of temperature, and fatigue, I should have been more careful following the race.

Being sick sucks!
Being sick sucks!

At the worst point of this flu, I had a badly sore throat, sneezing, coughing, and soreness throughout my upper body. I was tired. And I couldn’t think straight. It was frustrating .Normally, I bounce back quickly from a cold, but I feel this soreness throughout my body and it really does feel like a flu.

I haven’t exercised in about a week and that makes me feel really guilty. I see people out jogging and look on longingly with jealousy. I should be out there too! I even see people’s muscles and feel a very strong pull to get back to a gym and pump iron! I want to be the best I can be. I’m feeling like I’m not living up to my potential right now. Oh, if only I could capture this motivation for future usage!

My downtime has consisted of rest, fluids, and Tylenol  A while ago, I booked two days off this week to entertain my aunt and uncle who were visiting from abroad. I would have probably taken those days as sick leave if I hadn’t already booked them as vacation! Mind you, sleeping 11 hours a day really does help. It has been like an artificial weekend! And, when I was feeling a little better yesterday I took my aunt and uncle for some touristy things like the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium.

Realistically and ironically, this is probably the “best” week of the season for me to have gotten sick. The training I do within 3 weeks of the race will have very little physical benefit because the training will not yet have had time to manifest as adaptation. But mentally it’s maddening! I doubt my abilities throughout this downtime.

Well, we’ll see when I get better and hope for the best at the race!


Ice CrownDisneyland Half-Marathon Race Report

Categories: Race Report
Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: September 8, 2014

Before anything else, I want to send out a HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers and race crew of the Disneyland Half-Marathon race weekend. There were so many of you, and you did your job really, really well! Thank you!

On August 31, I ran the Disneyland Half-Marathon in Anaheim, California. By finishing this race, I also completed the second and final part of the Coast-to-coast Challenge. I completed the first part by running at Walt Disney World in January.

It will be hard to describe this race experience without comparing it to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events. And although this was event was very well done, I thought the experience for the Walt Disney World race were superior to the Disneyland Half-Marathon.

I traveled to this race with my mom who is my biggest fan, personal nurse, and coach! It was an opportunity for both of us to have a little vacation together, and see some family in the area after the race.

I relied heavily on information from I strongly recommend giving all relevant articles a thorough read before a Disneyland trip because I the information was quite thorough and rather accurate.

Expo and Pre-Race:

I read that one of the reasons Disney expanded east was because Disneyland was surrounded in California. And the contrast is vivid considering that most hotels and even the local buses by Anaheim Resort Transit are third parties. That leads to some logistics complications because it isn’t as simple as DisneyWorld, but you get used to it pretty fast.

With my bib at the Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend Expo
With my bib at the Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend Expo

The expo was okay, but regrettably not as big or exciting as Disney World’s. It was hosted at the Disneyland hotel, and the hall was filled of vendors and booths, but the hall isn’t as big as the ESPN Wide World of Sports. Race bib pickup was actually in an underground parking garage, but they dressed it up pretty well.

Bib pickup for Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend: A rather well re-dressed underground parking garage
Bib pickup for Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend: A rather well re-dressed underground parking garage

One thing that I found rather interesting was the return of the return of the bracelets from Disney World. During the Dopey Challenge in January, they put a bracelet on you for each race you finished as a way of showing that you finished that race. You had to present all 3 previous bracelets to get the Dopey medal after the Marathon. The bracelets were a pain, but it made it easy to identify fellow runners. When I picked up my bib, they put a bracelet on my wrist for the Coast-to-coast challenge. It became easy to spot other runners who were doing the Coast-to-coast because of the bracelets.

The ubiquitous bracelet
The ubiquitous bracelet


As I mentioned before, using the Anaheim Resort Transit (ART) was a little confusing at first. But they had representatives at the expo who were really helpful. And, all runners got a free 4-day ART pass, so it’s effectively the same as the Walt Disney World logistics once you got the hang of it.

My mom and I went to the Disneyland park on Saturday before the race. I could write a huge post on just that! In short, my favourite things were the little musical show “Mickey’s Magical Map” and the parade. It was also really hot, which was uncomfortable, but probably helped to acclimatize me to the California weather.

With Thor in Disneyland
With Thor in Disneyland

Princesses during theparade: Snow White, Aurora and Rapunzel
Princesses during the parade: Snow White, Aurora and Rapunzel

Iron Man Hall of Armour!
Iron Man Hall of Armour!
Scene from Mickey's Magical Map. Features Pocahontas, Mulan and Rapunzel (and Flynn)
Scene from Mickey’s Magical Map. Features Pocahontas, Mulan and Rapunzel (and Flynn)

Animals during the parade: King Louis from the Jungle Book, Terk from Disney's Tarzan, and Simba from the Lion King
Animals during the parade: King Louis from the Jungle Book, Terk from Disney’s Tarzan, and Simba from the Lion King

Darth Maul and Darth Vader
Darth Maul and Darth Vader

Ariel during the parade
Ariel during the parade

Anna and Olaf on the Frozen Parade float
Anna and Olaf on the Frozen Parade float



Race Morning and Starting Corrals:

I woke up a little after 3am local time. That may sound rather crazy (it is) but that was more like 6am Toronto time. We had a really nice hotel (it had 4.5 rooms and was larger than most urban condos, and even the dining table had a granite top!). After getting ready I met with Mark in the lobby around 4am. Mark ran much of the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge with me, and really saved my butt in January when he picked up my race kit because my flight was delayed. We jumped on a special ART bus and joined the thousands of others heading to the starting line.

All smiles before the race
All smiles before the race

The starting area was much like the Disney World runs: There was a family meet and greet area with a stage and the bag check. Unlike Disney World, the start corrals were very close to the staging area. I was seeded in Corral F, and speedy Mark was supposed to go in Corral C, but he was kind enough to drop back to run with me. the Corrals went all the way to J.

With a Toy Soldier from Toy Story before the Disney land Half-Marathon
With a Toy Soldier from Toy Story before the Disney land Half-Marathon

One of the pre-race announcers was the same as Disney World, but there was a lady there who I really liked. She seemed to have a good runner’s insight of what it’s like doing a Disney race. For example, the male announcer made a general comment encouraging runners to be kind to each other, like a family. And then the female runner said we’re like a family: Ohana!!! (A true Disney fan would know what that means…)

In the corrals before the Disneyland Half-Marathon
In the corrals before the Disneyland Half-Marathon

I was surprised that there was only one set of fireworks. It was during the national anthem. I was spoiled by the Walt Disney World races were every corral got their own fireworks. And, I imagine the neighbours around Disneyland don’t appreciate a large fireworks display at 5:30am.

Perhaps the only thing I didn’t like was the temperature. When the gun went off, it was already over 22 degrees celcius with a humidex above 30 degrees….


First 5k

They sent off the waves much faster than I expected. After the wheelchair athletes, they sent off Corral A at 5:30am, then Corral B right after. Shortly after they sent out Corral’s C & D together, and then Mark and I got to start about 18 minutes after Corral A when they sent out Corrals E & F together.

This isn’t my goal race for the season, and I had no goal time, so all I wanted was to finish without any damage. I made it a point of going as slow as possible. And Mark was nice enough to stick with me for the whole race at my super-easy pace.

There was a 2:15 pacer that set up slightly ahead of us, but we lost her quickly because we were closer to 8 min/km. A lot of people were passing us right and left, but I wanted to stick to a comfortable pace in this humidity.

We met my mom around the 1-mile mark. I was glad she was there to cheer me on!

Shortly after the 1-mile mark we passed a sign that said 12 miles. I guess we cross this point again later in the race!

The race went through Disney’s California Adventure first. I had never been there before, but it looked pretty cool.

Inside Disney's California Adventure
Inside Disney’s California Adventure

After that, we cross the street and head into the iconic Disneyland.

Mark and I in Disneyland during the Disneyland half-marathon
Mark and I in Disneyland during the Disneyland half-marathon

Here’s a little video I took running through the castle:

There were a few characters to have photos with, but none really caught my eye. Mark and I paused considering lining up to have a photo with Darth Vader and a couple Stormtroopers, but the lineup was really long.

5k Split: 41.04   [8:13 min/km]


After about 6km, the race leaves the Disneyland resort area and went onto the suburban streets of Anaheim. This was much less exciting than being in the parks, but we also got 2-3 lanes so it was much less crowded.

But, a really nice surprise was that there were A LOT of marching bands. Over the whole course I think there were at least a dozen. It was nice to be cheered on by dozens of screaming teenagers!

The sun was up around 6:30am, but thankfully it was overcast. It was warm enough and there was no wind so sunlight would have baked me! 

Rows upon rows of classic cars
Rows upon rows of classic cars

A little morbid humour...
A little morbid humour…

Around the 10k mark we started to see a really cool cars display. There were really old classics from the 20’s, right up to modern sportscars. My favourite was the batmobile!


Na-na-na-na BatMOBILE!
Na-na-na-na BatMOBILE!

We ran by the Honda Centre, which was a little disappointing because all we really saw was the building and a sign. After that we ran along a section of the Santa Anna River Trail. That was interesting because the river should have been to our left and it was completely dry! That was likely a symptom of the massive drought affecting California.

The Santa Anna River Trail. I think that's supposed to be the Santa Anna River on the left... looks a little dry...
The Santa Anna River Trail. I think that’s supposed to be the Santa Anna River on the left… looks a little dry…

However, running through Angel Stadium was a different story. We got to go through the stadium, and there were LOTS of people! That was a great feeling!


Outside Angel Stadium
Outside Angel Stadium

Mark! Look!! We're running through a baseball stadium!!
Mark! Look!! We’re running through a baseball stadium!!
 Lotsa people in the stadium two watch us run by

Disneyland Half-Marathon logo on the Angels Stadium Big Screen
Disneyland Half-Marathon logo on the Angels Stadium Big Screen


10k Split: 1:17:02 ( 35:58) [7:11 min/km]
15k Split: 1:53:02 ( 36:00) [7:12 min/km]


15km to Finish!

Shortly after leaving Angel Stadium, a 2:30 pacer caught up to us. I overheard when she told her group of their elapsed time and I realized they started about 8 minutes after us and had caught up. Even though this was supposed to be an easy run, I felt compelled to finish before her and her group.

Around that time the sun came out too. Mark and I exchanged a glance and put our sunglasses on without a further word.

Once we hit the 12 mile sign (for the second time) I really sped up, close to my hopeful race pace for the Army Run in a couple of weeks. Moving around 5:30 min/km I expected to be passing a lot of people, but to my surprise, everyone seemed to be going around the same speed. I guess everyone was holding back until the last mile because of the heat! 


The finish line!
The finish line!

21k: 2:34:51 ( 41.43) [6:48 min/km]
Gun: 2:52:29

Ice Crown
Ice Crown

At the finish I received my half-marathon medal and coast-to-coast medal. I was glad to find some ice. No muscles hurt, but it was nice to cool me down.

Parting Thoughts

Overall, I had a really good time, definitely felt the Disney magic, and was glad I did the race. I would recommend the race, but I probably wouldn’t do it again myself.

To be honest, I don’t think I would have done this race if not for the coast-to-coast challenge. In my opinion, Disney World offers a superior race and vacation experience, with a shorter flight (from Toronto) and notably cheaper. But, I might be convinced to do the Star Wars Half-Marathon in DisneyLand in January 2016.

My 2014 RunDisney medals
My 2014 RunDisney medals

I won’t be able to do any of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend events next January, which will break my “Goofy Streak”. But perhaps the Wine & Dine in the fall of 2015, or back for another Goofy in 2016.


DisneyLand Half Marathon Weekend Fun Facts (source)I’m Going to Disneyland!

Categories: General Running
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: August 30, 2014

As I’ve mentioned over and over, (and over and over, again), I’m running the DisneyLand Half-Marathon at the end of August. I ran the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge last January, and I decided this was my year to complete the Coast-to-Coast ChallengeI’m looking forward to it with some trepidation. As is usual for my races, I’m pouring over all available information and soaking up any information I can about the race and course, in particular ChatterRunGirl’s race report of last year’s Disneyland half marathon!

This will be my first race since the Mississauga Half-Marathon. That’s a very long time between races for me, but I was trying to stay disciplined about training. I plan to treat this as a strictly fun race, with no goal time in mind. And I plan to take lots of pictures!

DisneyLand Half Marathon Weekend Fun Facts (source)
DisneyLand Half Marathon Weekend Fun Facts (source)

There was a post on RunDisney’s facebook about wanting to hear the story from runner’s and their journey to the DisneyLand half Marathon Weekend. I had quite a journey to get here.

They chose not to publish my entry because there were other stories. I totally understand that RunDisney would chose to highlight runners that went through significant financial, personal, emotional or other obstacles to get to the DisneyLand Half Marathon Race weekend. But, since they won’t publish it, it gives me a great opportunity to publish it on my own blog!

It’s a nice summary of my running journey, and could be a fairly accurate “About Me” piece.

My name is Paul Radcliffe, I’m a 29 year-old runner from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, near  and I often talk about running on my blog: I saw a posting on RunDisney’s facebook page about overcoming obstacles to get to the DisneyLand half. Although I suspect some people had enormous emotional, physical, and/or financial obstacles to overcome to get to the DisneyLand Half-Marathon, I still felt compelled to share my story.

Like many runners, I am an “adult-onset” athlete. I was not really involved in sports or fitness as a child or in University. It showed! Finishing school I was badly out of shape, overweight, and generally unhealthy. My life changed when I joined some co-workers to climb the CN Tower (a Toronto landmark) as a fundraiser. I struggled so badly that I realized I something had to change if I wanted to survive.

After that, I started eating better, going to the gym, and running. I was very proud of myself when I ran my first half-marathon, and have run many half and full-marathons since then, including multiple Goofy Challenges at Walt Disney World. I’ve even occasionally been a clinic instructor at my local Running Room. I’m certainly not very fit yet, but I’m working on it.

I like running. It’s liberating. There’s no fancy equipment or mechanical advantage you can buy, it’s just you and your legs. I feel like running lets you reclaim your body, neighbourhood, and control. And I like the recreational running community. I find team sports a bit too antagonistic for my taste. The recreational runners I know are absolutely respectful and supportive. Doesn’t matter how good or bad you are; you’re one of us!

I feel like running has made me a better person. It’s brought more structure and order to my life, but also given me freedom. I’ve made many friends through running, and most of us share the same joy of running.

However, I encountered an obstacle in the spring of 2013. I developed a painful and debilitating tingling in feet when running. My doctor simply told me to stop running. That hurt. That hurt almost more than the injury. It was like losing a part of my identity. But, I was worried running was killing me, so I complied and missed many races and many months of training. I gained weight, and I lost confidence in myself.

I subjected myself to a battery of tests and saw a lot of doctors. Eventually, a chiropractor suggested I might have a form of posterior tibial impingement. Supposedly, my calves were swelling when I ran cutting off the blood supply to my legs and putting pressure on my nerves.

It took months and months, but I was able to change my running form, and the way I trained so that I could run again. I became much more diligent about stretching, foam rolling and other post-run care activities.  My feet still tingle now and then, but that’s just the reminder I need to take care of myself better when I slack off.

I’m glad to be back. I completed my 3rd Goofy Challenge in January this year (I actually did the whole Dopey). I’m looking forward to a new experience and continuing to enjoy running as I run the DisneyLand half-marathon soon.


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