2017 WDW Marathon Recap

I did it again, y’all! I finished the 2017 WDW Marathon! I have written this blog several times now because I just couldn’t figure out how I wanted to do my recap and then WordPress mysteriously ate it! The first time I’ve ever had that happen. It was almost as if something out there didn’t want me posting this recap…hmmm. I can’t let that happen, the recap will happen! The WDW marathon is my big race of the year and so many different things went through my mind during the marathon that I wanted my recap to include it all. It may be long but it has a few tidbits that may help if you are thinking about running the WDW Marathon.

2017 WDW Marathon Recap | My Hot Southern Mess


Monday Miles : Week 34

Happy Monday everyone! There are now 34 weeks until the WDW Marathon and I am sure that time is going to fly on by! As for my Monday Miles posts i’m not sure at this point how regular to be with posting as I have not started to officially train for the marathon.   Right now I am working more on getting myself ready for it and doing some self care.

MondayMiles - WEEK 34


Walt Disney World Marathon Recap (Part 1)

Two weeks ago I became a marathoner! My time was no where near what I hoped but I was not swept and I crossed the finish line. After all is said and done I have to say that the Walt Disney World Marathon was a good choice for my first marathon. After having done a couple princess half  marathons I knew somewhat, what to expect. My only unknown was if I would be able to finish 26.2 miles.  So why not jump on the bus to full crazy?

Walt Disney World Marathon Recap -Part One


The Reasons Why I am Running the WDW Marathon

This week I purposely skipped my Monday Miles. I completed 20 miles for my weekend long run. My pace was on target and at times better than expected. I felt confident with my workout when it was done. What I didn’t expect during the run was how my mind was going to wander which leads me right here to this blog post. My mind kept coming around to the reasons why I am doing this marathon. So I figured what better thing to do would be to write about the reasons why I am running the WDW Marathon.

The Reasons Why I am Running the WDW Marathon

The first reason is because after looking at when I ran my first 5k and then half marathon I decided I  should needed to run a Marathon when I turned 40. I ran my first 5k when I was 30 and my first half marathon when I was 35 so 40 seems perfect for my first marathon.  I’m a couple years from 40 though but hey, that is ok. No one said I couldn’t make my goal early. Plus anyways registration for the race was on my wedding anniversary, it was a sign.

The second reason to prove that I can do it. Yes, it will be slow and easy and not my typical pace due to my foot injury but in 2011 I was told I would never run again. You have to be able to run for yourself before running for anything else which leads me into my last reason.

The final reason is for those who cannot. I am the Community Outreach Director for Team RWB at Fort Bragg. Team RWB is an non-profit veteran’s outreach organization. We reach out to veterans through both physical and social activities. Team RWB paid for my entry into the WDW Marathon, well more so reimbursed me for it. With that being said I find it incredibly important to do this race for our veterans and in memory of those who gave all.

When I say that I am running the WDW Marathon people are quick to ask, “are you dressing up?” After my long run my answer is a definite, No. I will be wearing my RWB shirt. I may add a sparkle skirt but I doubt it. The sparkle athletic ones are short imo and just don’t look as good on us girls with booties. I am still debating carrying a flag too. I carried the flag for the first time in a local race and honestly it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It is something I need to look into to see if Disney even allows.

So there it is in a nutshell, why I am running the WDW Marathon. We all have our own reasons that no one can take away, we just have to get out there and do it. With proper training we can all do it. So get out there and run!

Now if you’ll excuse me I have some training to do. 

Misadventures in Running Rattler Trail Run

This really isn’t the post I had planned but it is, what it is. On May 9th I ran my last half marathon, the Rattler Trail Run. It was the hardest half marathon that I have ever done. It was a my first trail half marathon. It was a technical trail. I thought I would be ok, I train on a trail. I had prerace jitters, I kept seeing this technical trail run being discussed, I was nervous about getting hurt. I knew I would be fine though. I had no problem walking if I needed to. As long as I did that I would be fine, or so I thought.

MisAdventures in Running:Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet

Race day came and I woke up early and drove to San Lee Park in Sanford, North Carolina. It was a beautiful looking park! The race would be in the woods surrounding a lake, it seemed perfect. I was ready!

Rattler Trail Run time! #rattlertrailrun #trailrun #halfmarathon #run #runningmama

A photo posted by Debbie (@myhotsouthernmess) on


Race directions were given, we started and up the hill we went to the trail. That is where everything changed. I now knew what technical trail meant. It meant roots and boulders  and not being able to look up without tripping. We were running on mountain bike trails. My son would love to ride on the trails. Running on them was a different story.

MisAdventures in Running:Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet On the first 10k loop I was feeling ok other than my calves being mad at me. My times were horrible and after recent improvements it bothered me but I kept at it. After all no one was going to come out on the trail and save me. I tripped and stubbed my toes on rocks multiple times but was lucky as I never fell down. I passed and I passed others. I ran with strangers, each of us commenting on the grueling trail. Then right as I was near the finish of the 10k I tripped and then stubbed my toe, yet again. The girl I was running with repeatedly asked if I was ok. It hurt like nothing else but I told her I was fine I could walk it off. I can say now that trip was much worse than what I ever thought.
MisAdventures in Running:Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet
I continued on and finished the first 10k. My time was horrible but at this point I no longer cared. I went on to do the next loop. With this loop I didn’t trip nearly as much and my confidence was building back up despite my horrible mile splits. I was determined to finish even if my time sucked.

Misadventures in Running- Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet

I completed the loop and was ready to tackle the final loop but not without being told I needed to eat something first. So I ate a few potatoes. I didn’t think I needed it, I had my gels, nuun and water but I ate a couple and off I went for the last and final loop. This time I ended up pacing another runner. We chit chatted most of the way. We stayed together or her right behind me the entire way. I was constantly checking on her and we remained in earshot of each other when I did get a bit ahead. It definitely helped as that last lap was a hot mess. Heck the whole race was, I couldn’t imagine those doing the full. They had to do the half marathon route twice!
MisAdventures in Running:Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet
We finished though. Thirteen point freaking one. We were given our medals. I recouped from some low blood sugar we took pictures and I hiked back across the park to my car to drive the hour home.

MisAdventures in Running:Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet


By the time I got home some stiffness had set in and my feet hurt. It hurt to walk, I was now limping around. I showered and elevated my feet. It was after my husband looked at my feet and noticed some bruising in addition to the swelling that he told me I should probably go to the emergency room. We debated and he won, off to the ER I went. After a quick X-ray showing I didn’t have any major breaks I was sent home to RICE my foot and see my Primary Care Doctor Monday.

MisAdventures in Running:Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet


I made that appointment, she looked at it, put me in a boot, told me no running and told me to come back in two weeks if I was still having problems. Three weeks later I went back. I felt incredibly stupid for going in. It was my big toe and it just would not bend at the 2nd joint as well as still being swollen. So she x-rayed it again and referred me to a podiatrist so I could get a MRI. I’ve since learned that my insurance,Tricare, is picky when it comes to ordering MRI’s. So, a few more weeks down the road I go to the podiatrist. More x-rays again showing no major breaks and his diagnosis was Turf Toe. If I wasn’t better in 4 weeks he would send me to physical therapy and after 4 weeks of that he would do a MRI. Say What? I have Google and as someone who hates the doctor I googled my problem further than Web MD (and yes I know doctors hate this,lol). I knew I did not have turf toe. Back to my Primary Care doctor asking for a second opinion which she readily agrees too. It is now July and i’m finally sent to an orthopedic doctor and he finally sends me for an MRI. His concerns are that I have a stress fracture or a tendon injury.  At this point I am happy to be getting the MRI finally, my injury was months ago now and my stupid big toe does not bend! Just call me random injury girl. Heck after receiving my MRI results my doctor pretty much did, he called me a mystery girl. My MRI was helpful and it helped give us some answers.

MisAdventures in Running:Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet

Like the MRI said I had multiple stress fractures in my foot that I had no clue about! Other than that my doctor has decided that I needed to see another orthopedic doctor that specializes in feet. At this point I just wanted to run, i’m all for it if she could fix me.

MisAdventures in Running:Rattler Trail Run | Country Girl Gourmet

I finally saw the foot specialist and I am glad I did. She thinks several of my supposed stress fractures are an anomaly she often sees on MRI results. I tend to agree with her because I had no issues with that area of my foot. As for my toe I learned some interesting things. Like that last joint of your toe does need to bend to run and each person has a different degree. My toes are just more bendy than some others. The good news is I have just enough bend to be able to run. I ended my appointment with a cortisone shot to my toe. Thank goodness they have freeze-y spray! That was definitely an experience. While I don’t have a diagnosis and i’m waiting for the shot to do it’s thing I was given the green light to start running again and guess what I already have a half marathon in a couple weeks! I will be sweeping a local half, so it’s ok that I will be slow. Slow and steady wins the race and this girl has a Full Marathon to get training for! I hope my foot is ready!


What are your best tips for bouncing back after a race injury?


All American Marathon Recap

It’s been a month since my last half marathon and I wasn’t sure about writing a recap but here it is, my recap of the All American Marathon’s Mike to Mike Half Marathon! My dilemma with writing was because I didn’t actually run the half marathon because I was pacing but I still did the course so why not?

All American Marathon Recap

This year was the second running of the All American Marathon but the first year of it’s expo. It was a small two day expo with plenty of room to grow in the future. On Saturday, I was there volunteering with Team Red, White and Blue. Other booths there included The Runner Spot (a local running store), Bondi Bands, another NC based running store, USAA, UCAN nutrition,  US ARMY and ROTC programs along with a couple others.

All American Marathon Recap
Saturday late afternoon was also when their pasta dinner was held under a tent outside at the expo.  As a pacer I was invited along with a guest. Their guest speaker this year was Ivan Castro, a wonderful wounded warrior who has done many amazing things since his injury to include running the All American Marathon the previous year. Oh and did I mention that he is blind. Amazing stuff right there!
Being gluten free I didn’t really get to enjoy the full pasta dinner but I have been told the pasta, garlic bread and cookies were good. I can vouch for the vegetables though.  They had some fried broccoli and cauliflower that was mighty tasty in addition to a salad of mixed greens. At the conclusion of the meal they even gave away the centerpieces and I was given a jar full of flowers.

Off to home I went to get ready for the next morning. Even though I  was walking not running, I was quite nervous. I was the sweeper and 4 hour pacer for the half marathon, that is a 18:20 mile. Not a 4 minute mile that some people thought when they saw my sign. Can you imagine being that fast?!?

All American Marathon Recap

I trained though. I went from running to walking and rucking. I rucked with a weighted ruck to help slow me down. I was as ready as I was going to be for the next day.

All American Marathon Recap

Sunday morning for the first time ever my husband dropped me off for the marathon. Nervous about traffic we got there nice and early. Another option for runners was to catch a shuttle ride from Fort Bragg to the race start. There was also an opportunity for shuttle rides from the finish to the start line area. Runners who took the shuttles rode the same buses that they use to transport soldiers, white bluebird buses. If you don’t know what they are they are simply school buses that are white not yellow. The buses were there (all at the same time) at approximately 6:30am giving plenty of time for bag check, pre-race photos, and getting to the start line. There were no corrals but you could find a pacer and figure out what area you should be in.

After listening to the Star Spangled Banner we were off with a loud bang in true military fashion.

Marathon start line

Photo from Fort Bragg Flickr

As a pacer and a sweeper I needed to determine how best to pace those in the back of the pack. I chose to go their pace as long as we were under 18:20. That way if they needed to take breaks we could. For the first mile or so I walked with the 7 hour pacer for the full. When he pulled ahead I was left with several ladies, two of which  I stayed with for the entire half marathon.

For the first couple miles we were in downtown Fayetteville and went by the Airborne and Special Operations Museum area  after that it  was to the Haymount area and the dreaded Haymount hill. I was walking and had trained on a hilly route so Haymount Hill wasn’t that bad in my opinion. If I was running though i’m sure it would have been a different story. I know my bicycle escort had issues and the ladies I was pacing were ready to be done with the hills. We then traveled down Morganton road and eventually made it to the All American Highway. By the point we were making it through the marathon route the spectators were sparse, something to think of if you are a back of the pack runner. A huge thank you to those who waited for us before packing up it was appreciated!  Another issue we came across as those in the back of the pack were barricades being moved before we had crossed the street and watching water stations dump water as we approached. The water tables still had water but I had to come to a complete stop when I needed it. There were also some snacks (trail mix and gu’s) and although I brought my own gels I would grab something  just in case those I was pacing needed something. One thing that I was able to easily do as the sweeper was say Thank you to every police person, medic, support table volunteer and soldier on the course. They are critical pieces to good races.

Once we got on the highway it was nice and flat but a bit boring, it is a highway after all. This isn’t Disney but our mile 8 is truly something special. At Mile 8 Wear Blue: Run to Remember was set up. Every person experiences this mile differently. Some cry, some find new found strength to finish, whatever it is this mile is very moving.  I slowed down during this time and pulled away from those I was pacing to allow them to experience this however they needed.

all american marathon 15-8


To give you a glimpse of the Wear Blue: Run to Remember Mile check out this video HERE.

After the Wear Blue Mile we came upon Fort Bragg and at mile 10 we walked up an on ramp (well it was an exit ramp if you want to be picky) we were at the full and half marathon split. We took the right to finish the half marathon. I think at this point those I was pacing must have thought I was crazy. I walked backwards up the ramp and down the road and I even was skipping. For a half marathon I was feeling pretty good.  I may or may not have danced  and sang

When we went by the All American Band playing Shake it Off. Really, who doesn’t sing and dance to Shake it off?

All American Marathon Recap

We were coming to the finish though, despite people telling us we were almost there. We knew otherwise.

al american marathon 15-4

The mile markers for the race as you can see were nothing fancy but did the trick.

All American Marathon Recap

I had the girls I was pacing follow the advice of this sign:

All American Marathon Recap

Next thing I knew we were at good ole Iron Mike! The finish was near!

All American Marathon recapAt Iron Mike we were ahead and the ladies I was pacing some stopped and took pics and it was at this point I let them have their much earned finishes on their own.
After receiving my medal from a soldiers in their dress blues and receiving my finisher back pack the ladies found me and took a pic with me to my surprise and thanked me for helping them.

All American Marathon Recap

After the race there was a finish line festival but being  in the back of the pack I had missed much of the entertainment. Since my husband was picking me up I found him and we left to go home so he could do homework and things to get ready for work the next day. Well after we stopped in at Lowe’s first. Yes, I went in to Lowe’s medal, race bib and all.

All American Marathon Recap

It was honestly one of the best experiences I have had “running” a half marathon. It was an incredible honor to help pace those in the back of the pack! This race is one I would recommend to anyone looking at doing a half marathon. My only big complaint was my pacer shirt. It was too small. We were told they were running really big and asked if we wanted to size down. I said sure. Lesson learned… don’t size down in the future. Maybe that person wears smediums…. ya know shirts that are a size smaller than they should wear. Oh well, I didn’t chafe…and the actual race shirt is very comfy and nice!

Check out THIS video recap of the 2015 All American Marathon. There may or may not be a glimpse of me pacing in there.

Want to run (or walk) the All American Marathon in 2016? Check this out-

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