Saturday, January 22, 2011

An overdue race report

It just dawned on me that I never posted my draft of the race report from the Disney Marathon. So, almost 2 weeks later, here it is. Mind you, it's the draft from the day after the race, so it'll be written about "yesterday" even though it's from 2 weeks ago.

My morning started at 2AM, when the allarm went off. I was too jazzed to hit the snooze button, so I got up and ate some breakfast. I started packing all my gear into my Fuel Belt. We headed out at 3:47, and arrived at Epcot at 4:15. All runners had to be at the start line and in their corrals by 5, so Eric and I made the 1 mile walk to the start line with thousands of my closest friends. After 45 minutes of waiting in the freezing cold, in shorts might I add, a great singer did the national anthem, and the first wave took off. There were fireworks and pyrotechnics, and music. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy all had on track suits and were dancing. It was good fun.

My goal pace for this race was 12/mile, and so I kept a clost eye on my Garmin for the first couple until I could feel my toes again, just to make sure I wasn't doing anything crazy. I have to say the the first ten miles kinda went by in a blur. I remember some ladybugs from the Mainstreet Electrical Parade(my favorite old school parade at Disney) at mile 2ish, and then running around The World Showcase and ginormouse Xmas tree to mile 4. The next thing I remember is handing Eric my jacket at Mile 10 near the Contmporary, and then running through the Magic Kingdom. I had to get a picture in the same place as last year, with me on Main Street in front of Cinderella's castle.

Once we left MK, it was kinda boring. Running along the back side of the property, there wasn't much to look at, and the road narrowed quite a bit, which meant that we were pretty crowded, and that made it tough to really run well. We ran through the composting and water treatment facility, which was quite smelly, I was super happy to get through there. Around mile 14, my legs started to cramp, and I thought that was because I had slowed down a little bit, so I kept running. By mile 16, my legs locked up completely, and I was running straight into the wall. At the turn of mile 17(somewhere near the back of Animal Kingdom), I stopped, stretched, called Eric for a pep talk, and doubled down on clig bloks and water. As I started back to running, I slowly started to feel better. About then, I noticed a runner who I'd passed before, who'd then pass me, and so forth. She looked like she was in intense pain, and so was I, so I struck up a convo.

It turns out, Gail had been left by her group because her knee was hurting her so much she had to slow her pace way down, and had made a stop at a medical tent for some taping. I asked her if we could run together for a while, and the miles started climbing. My iPhone earbuds had died, and I could use the distraction as well. We talked about kids, weight loss, jobs, animals, hobbies, food, running, you name it. As we ran together, her pain worsened, but I kept up motivating her and changing topics. Mile 18, 19 clicked by and I reminded her at mile 20, that a 10k was nothing. Through Animal Kingdom, we ran the canal between AK and the back gate of Epcot. Gail was in serious pain, and I was hurting pretty well at this point. By mile 23, I had become the motivator to several people running near us. "A 5k is what we eat for breakfast", I said. By this point, we weren't really talking much, just trying to survive the rest of the run.

As we got through the back gates of Epcot, we hit mile 25, and there were a lot more people cheering on the runners. In a lot of pain, I kept reminding Gail that no matter what happened, when she crossed the finish line, SMILE! If this is gonna be your only marathon, at least make sure you have a good picture, right? I found myself being frustrated that the spectators weren't making much noise, so I started getting them pumped. Once we saw that big ass ball, we were at mile 26, and I pushed it into overdrive. Around the corner, there were tons of people and we could see that blessed finish line waiting. I split up from Gail, and reminded her to smile as best she could. With a huge smile on my face, and 2 fingers in the air, I ran over that line, and I can honestly say, it was one of the happiest moments of my life! It was the moment I shoudl have had last year when I ran it, but happily took this year instead.

Once we got our medals, Gail found me, and gave me the biggest hug. She told me that she couldn't have made it to the finish without me, and that I have a great gift for motivating people. She also said that someday, I'm going to make a huge difference in the lives of people who need it most. Between finshing the race and what she said to me, I was in tears. I made my way through the food line and found Eric, stretched, relaxed for a bit, and then went home.
5:29:29 was my finishing time, which makes me super happy. Overall, it was a great experience, and one I will repeat next year as part of my quest to complete the Goofy Challenge!