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Monday, January 14, 2008

Disney Marathon 2008

We left Baltimore after work for a late flight to Orlando. Boarding the shuttle bus at the airport, who was on the bus but Karen from Fleet Feet, coming home from a running store conference in Dallas! We chit chatted with her until she reached her stop and she wished us luck. It was an uneventful flight down to Orlando, both of us getting pretty nervous about our runs. I did, however, get a book at BWI that I think will be given away for this year's Nickish Christmas. We checked into our villa at Beach Club and got our luggage.

We woke up and got ready and headed over to the Contemporary Resort to have breakfast with the characters at Chef Mickey's. Todd had a chance to meet with Goofy about the coming Goofy Challenge. Then, we took a bus over to the Expo at the Wide World of Sports. We spent a lot of time at the expo, getting our numbers and packets and shopping around for running merchandise. I got a great Disney marathon top. Then, we headed back to the room where we prepared for the Half marathon and then spent some time lounging around beside the pool (I love the pool at Beach Club!!). Next it was time for dinner. We had dinner at the Contemporary Resort, at California Grill, which is our favorite restaurant on property. Todd was nervous and a little unable to eat, though. We watched the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom and then headed back to our room to get some rest before the start of the races.

HALF MARATHON DAY! The alarm went off at 3:30am, and we got up and got ourselves ready. I had made a sign that said "Yay Todd!" at the Expo and I had it with me for a day of spectating. At the runner's village, we met up with Jack and a bunch of other folks from Team in Training who were all getting together to run the Goofy Challenge together. Once they passed the bag checkin, I had to say goodbye because spectators were not allowed into the starting line area. So, I hung around at the runners village for a little while trying to get a glimpse of them heading to the start, but didn't get to catch them. Finally, at around 5:30am, I decided to head on over to the course.

To get to my first spectator spot, I had to take the monorail from Epcot to the Transportation & Ticket Center. I got on the monorail and the race was about to start (it was around 5:50am). I realized that I could see the course from the monorail, so I just sort of rode the monorail back and forth between the Ticket and Transportation Center and Epcot a couple times to try and catch some of the race, finally, at around 6:15, I headed off at the TTC and down to mile 4, which was right at the Ticket & Transportation Center parking lot. I knew Todd would be by at a minimum of 6:40am. It was still dark while I was waiting and a little while later the wheelchair leader passed and then the runners started coming through. Todd had taken a long time to get over the starting line (about 45 minutes) and then he was walking with the Team in Training folks, so it was light outside by the time he passed.

Meanwhile, some interesting folks passed by - tinkerbell (both male and female), three guys wearing tutus and flamingo hats, Mr Incredible (the same one as last year), lots of Snow Whites, and my favorite - a guy wearing a gladiator helmet, a cape and black briefs. The gladiator also had a sword that made a "ching!" sound when he swiped it through the air. Very entertaining.

Finally, Todd passed by, with Jack close behind. He was mostly walking, taking it slow and keeping his energy in reserve for the full marathon. I cheered them on and headed off towards my next stop, the Magic Kingdom. This was at mile 6. Disney let spectators into the park for the race, so I was on main street when Todd passed. Then, it was off to the Polynesian Resort, where I met up with the course on the road (around mile 8). People were starting to recognize me as the "Yay Todd!" girl, and they were starting to ask if I was seeing Todd and how Todd was doing. Todd passed me again there (still looking great). I grabbed a quick snack in the Polynesian and caught the monorail to Epcot to see Todd at the finish line. Meanwhile, I could see the course from the monorail and gave Todd a call. He could see my monorail passing by from where he was :)

Once I reached Epcot, I realized that the course was right there next to the monorail station and Todd hadn't passed yet, so I waited there around mile 12 to cheer him on as a little surprise. Then, it was time to take a potty break and wait for Todd to go through Epcot to the finish. Once I reached the bleachers at the finish, I was just getting myself in order, with my "Yay Todd!" sign and my camera, when I looked up and saw Todd just after the finish line. He had tricked me and sprinted through the last mile of the course and crossed the finish line while I wasn't looking. I cheered for him and then met him at the other side.

We met up with Jack and the others, wished them congratulations and then headed back to the hotel for a shower and a nap. We took a dip in the pool and relaxed a while, then Sharon picked us up and took us over to their resort (the All Star Sports) to have a carb loading dinner with Sharon and family. We had a good time hanging out with them, played a little football on the giant football field at the hotel, and then headed back to the room to get ourselves together and crash into bed for another early morning.


Once again, the alarm woke us up at 3:30am. This time, I was the one who was feeling nervous. We got ourselves ready and headed to the runner's village at Epcot. We met up with Jack and the others, checked a bag and kind of milled around at the runner's village for a while. There were some other Team in Training folks from Howard County that we met also. Finally around 5:30, we headed on down to the starting line to our corrals. Todd was registered for a later corral, but we all corralled together with the slow folks. They sang the star spangled banner and the fireworks went off, and then it was time to start the race...

Initially, I had planned to set a PR at Disney. As time has gone by and as my training really started to suck, I finally decided not to run for time and just finish and have a great time. But then, after I watched the goofy challenge folks walk the half marathon and take it so easy, I started to feel slightly jealous, like I could have done the Goofy Challenge. I felt like a lazy person to not even try for a PR, so I decided to go ahead and go for it, but to take a different approach than I've taken with the previous 3 marathons - I started out doing a 14:30 mile, slower than ever, and doing 1:1 intervals through the whole race.

This worked for a long time. Jack stayed with us until we caught up with the TNT folks whom he was running with, and Todd and I went on. We were keeping between a 14 and 15 minute pace, trying very hard to stay right at 14:30. This really felt good to both of us and I was not having a hard time with it. I was starting to think that yes, I really could set a PR, and yes, I really could have walked both races and done the Goofy Challenge if I'd wanted to.

The course was the same as 2007. We passed through Epcot, under Spaceship Earth, and then out of Epcot near the Mexico Pavilion. We passed the start again and hit the highways to head toward the Magic Kingdom. Things were still feeling great. Todd was being wonderful as always, supporting me as we ran. Since he was doing the Goofy Challenge, though, I was giving him a little more support this year. We saw Sharon and Frank at the Ticket & Transportation Center. I think that was around mile 9. We passed the Contemporary and then headed into the Magic Kingdom park, up Main Street (I LOVE THIS PART OF THE RACE!!!!!!!!) and then out again on the other side of Frontierland. We saw Sharon and family again near the Polynesian Resort, where they gave us Biofreeze and Oranges (YUMMY!!). We headed on, to the half marathon mark, and I was still 2 minutes ahead of my PR time.

The empty part between the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom is one of the worst parts of the race, and it's where I start to break down a little bit. It was challenging to keep up the same pace, but I kept pushing myself to keep it up. It was around mile 16 where I finally admitted to Todd that there was NO WAY I could to the Goofy Challenge and I seriously doubted that I'd ever try.

Finally, we entered Animal Kingdom, seeing a few animals and then headed out into the parking lot. Our time in the parks was much too short. This was mile 18, where I'd finally faltered and had to walk in 2007. Not this time, I was doing much better, but my lead on my PR time was slipping. When I saw Mickey there waiting for pictures, I knew that I had to make a choice - PR or photo with Mickey. I chose the photo.

I still kept up with the 1:1s and I was still in the back of my head determined to keep it close to my PR time. We saw Sharon at mile 20 near the McDonalds. They gave us Biofreeze, oranges and gummi bears. They're awesome. My watch had started showing that my PR time was gone, but I was still keeping up with about a 16 minute pace.

It was almost to MGM at mile 21 or 22 where I finally just couldn't run anymore. I had no more gas in my tank and I had to tell Todd that I needed to walk for a while. We walked and walked, but I never recovered. I ended up walking again most of the rest of the race. I was not recovering, but I was speed walking, keeping a 16 minute pace. We passed through MGM Studios (now renamed to Disney's Hollywood Studios), then out in front of the hotels. Sharon and Frank met us one more time in front of Beach Club at mile 25 before we headed into Epcot for our final mile and a half.

In World showcase, I decided that I wanted to start up intervals again and started running in front of a race photographer. I made it maybe 50 feet before my calf muscles seized up and crampmed and I knew that I was not really capable of running. We power walked around World Showcase, with Jack passing us around China and wishing us luck. Near Spaceship Earth, we left the park and headed into the parking lot and then, finish line in sight, I finally ran again to cross the finish line. 6:42:12 was my final time...

Everything hurt. Everything was bad. During the race, I'd eaten and drank more than any other marathon in the past, I'd done everything to try and make myself feel better. What I didn't do was properly train... oops. So, I was pretty miserable at the end, barely able to walk to the bus, and then on the bus I'd felt like I was going to throw up (but I didn't, thank goodness). I'm proud though, because I'd pushed through to the end and gave it my full 100% of everything that I had, even after I'd given up on the PR. I gave that race my all, it just wasn't enough for a PR.

We showered and said goodbye to Sharon & Frank, rested up a bit, dipped in the pool (cool water felt great on the sore muscles), and then had some dinner at Spoodles at the Boardwalk Hotel. We took Tylenol PM and had a wonderful sleep!!

Just a day of relaxation. Character breakfast in the hotel, relaxing and hot tub (what could be better??). During breakfast, Goofy sat with us and wrote us a note...

Goofy (writing with crayon on table): Where are you from?
K & T: Baltimore.
Goofy: Where in Baltimore?
K & T: Carroll County.
Goofy: Goofy loves Baltimore, but DESPISES 695.

Funny :)

Then, it was time to head home to cold...

I'm recovering better than expected. Sunday after the race, when we took a nap it felt as if all that existed from my waist down was pain. I mean PAIN, but shockingly I'm only a little sore right now. My feet are better, my ankles and calves are a tad sore and one shoulder is sore (stress?).

We've got our race schedule figured out for 2008 (decided and discussed over breakfast this morning). Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Nick said...

Congrats to you both on your fine efforts! You did a helluva lot more with your weekend than I did.

You guys rock!

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