Sunday, January 22, 2012

Disney World 1/2 Marathon

At an ungodly hour of the morning, my iPhone alarm goes off.  2AM.  I climb out of bed and grab one of the apple cinnamon bars that I had grabbed at Pop Century food court the night.. well hours before.  A few gulps of water and I'm into the shower.

I get all of my running gear on and check the Weather Channel on the phone.  Hmmm, almost 50 degrees.  I'm thinking at that point that I'll just take the throwaway zip-up and forgo the pants.  I'm struggling to get this thing zipped up... whoa!  The throwaway that I got off the discount rack at the Nike outlet is a woman's jacket!  Oh well, it'll wind up going to someone that can use it.

I eat my banana, also from the food court, a bit more water and I'm out the door to catch the first buses at 3am.  Yes, 3AM.  3 freaking AM.  The line for the buses is clearly marked and I get in line with several other runners at this point.  The buses start rolling into Pop Century at a few minutes after 3AM.  Did I tell you that it's 3AM??  There must be 4 or 5 buses that pull in all at once.  I get into the first bus easily.

We get over to Epcot easily.  It seems to take longer than usual.  This is when I notice that we're going in another way than I'm used to.  We took some road that took us to some back areas that I think were Cast Member areas.  We disembark from the bus and begin one of our first walks of the morning.  They are letting us know as we pass that the buses will not be picking us up where we are dropped off at this morning.  Thanks, I'll try to remember that.

It's fairly empty when I reach the open area that is before you go through the bag check.  There is a giant video screen set up and a DJ playing some .  I made my way up close and tried to get a couple of pictures.

Video Screen near the DJ
There are several trailers with food items and such.  I then realize that I really don't have any money with me!  I then find out that they'll take the room charge from your room key.  Cool, another water in hand.  I eat my second apple cinnamon bar.

I end up at the WDW Radio Show meeting area and say hi to Lou Mongello.  With my Dad living in Naples, I've been to their family restaurant a few times now (the Lasagna was GREAT!)  I'm trying to remember where everyone was telling me where they would be.  I decide that I'm really a bundle of nerves at this point and make my way through the bag check area to the holding area instead of trying to find anyone else at this point.  Port-a-potty heaven here.  I finish off the water I got and decide that I'd better try and make the best of the situation and queue up to get into a potty.  Business taken care of, I was a bit worried that I'd have to do that on course.  Now it's just time to wait.  And wait.  And wait.

At this point, I'm regretting my decision to forgo the running throw away pants I had gotten.   It's not like I would have used them for myself anyways, as they are MUCH too long on me.  Oh well.  I have to make due with how I am now.  I begin to eavesdrop on some conversations going on around me.  I hear someone say that they seem to be holding us longer at this point than they had in previous years.

FINALLY!  We're released to make our way to the corrals.  It turns out to be quite a long walk! There are more port-a-potties along the way.  I hear someone say that this is the last chance, so I enter into the potty queue once again.  That information turns out to be incorrect, as I made my way to Corral G, there are many more port-a-potties lined up at the corral areas.

Another long waiting period.  I look at my Heart Rate watch to keep an eye on the time.  I eat my first gel as they're releasing the 2nd wave.  (I picked them up Friday afternoon at the expo, only Mocha was left, no more chocolate.)

There are a few video screens and they're pumping up the crowd in preparation to release the wheelchair racers.  They will be the first wave released.  It's a really nice countdown with some fireworks and pyrotechnics going on at the release of the wave.  It's then 6 minutes between the wave starts.  Each wave get's a sendoff of fireworks and pyrotechnics.

By the time we hit the release for Corral G, they don't hold us, they just have us GO!  I wasn't really prepared for that!  I begin a slow jog to try and start warming up my legs.  Before I get to mile 1, my body has decided that I REALLY need to hit the first line of port-a-potties.  This winds up getting me 7 minutes behind my desired pace straight off!  ARRRGH!  I thought since I had done my business earlier, I'd be all "clear" for the race.

It turns out that my nephew is in the band that we first greeted that morning.  He said after the race that he saw me, but I'm not sure how that was possible.  He must have VERY good vision, as I was in quite a large crowd as we passed.

I wind up mixing it up between miles 2 and 3 with some jogging and walking.  I'm starting to warm up well at this point and things seem to be starting to get into a good rhythm.  Somewhere along this point is where I toss the jacket.  Farewell woman's zip top jacket!  I hope you find a good home!
By the time I pass mile 3, I'm jogging all the time.  I take another Clif Power Shot Mocha Gel.  I wind up pretty much jogging all the way through the Magic Kingdom.  The only time I slowed down to a walk was for the water/powerade stops.  Let me tell you now, I alternated water & powerade stops.  Powerade is terrible.  Gatorade is MUCH better tasting!

I hear my name as I just make the turn onto Main Street.  I see my Dad!  He's trying to "film" me as I pass by.  I wave and say hi, trying to keep on going at this point. I really was happy at this point.  I'm doing this!  It's real!  I'm running in a half marathon through Magic Kingdom!

I made the turn into Tomorrow Land for the loop around to come through the Castle.  As we approached the Castle, I really tried to pace myself well enough between people because I knew that photographers would be right on the other side.  As we came down the ramp, I see that there are photographers on both sides.  Cool!  I positioned myself to go right in front of the one on the right, as I see a group of gals in pink tutus going left.  The gals on the left got the picture and then jumped in front of me to go to the one on the right!  ARRRGH!  My first time through and I experience the Camera Hog phenomenon!!!  The photo place does have a picture of me at the castle, but I'm several people behind and its just not a really good picture at all.

The rest of the time in Magic Kingdom just flies by.  As we exit at the parade path beside Splash Mountain, the Disney World Train is there tooting its whistle for the runners as we pass by!  We had another water/powerade stop before exiting the parade float storage area.  This road was a bad area.  It is a small road that is creating a very big bottleneck.  I'm trying my best to keep jogging, as I know at this point if I slow down I could be in big trouble.  This is where I find out that people just really don't pay attention to any instructions that are given.

We were told and given in the instruction book that you aren't to  be more than 2 abreast and if you are going slow, to try to stay to one side.  Nope!  These large groups of walkers are taking up almost the entire area.  I end up being slowed down to a walk for 3/4 to 1 mile or so.  I could just feel it, the longer I walked, the tighter my hamstrings were getting.

By the time we get back to a nice wide road, I just could not get back into my rhythm.  I'm pretty much stuck with a jog/walk method from here on out.  I'm estimating that this is mile 8 though 10.  Runkeeper (an app on my iPhone) is letting me know that I'm still 2 minutes behind my desired pace... and it's increasing.  I realize that I'm starting to much more walking than jogging.  I pick it up and try to keep jogging for longer periods.  I make a little bit up, but not much.

Mile 9 was to be the fuel stop.  They're already packing things up.  Glad that I picked up the extra gels.  I take another mocha gel and grab a water at the stop.  I know whats coming up.  What I wasn't expecting was the road condition after the fuel stop area!  It's STICKY!  VERY STICKY!  Gel packs are all over the place and I'm assuming we're running through left over gell all over the road!

I then see it.  We're at the point I was dreading.  It's the exit/overpass to head back to Epcot.  To read the description of this exit, does it no justice.  It's VERY steep angle for the water runoff.  The actual hill climb isn't bad, its that it feels like the road is at a 45 degree angle under you is the part that is just awful!  I tried to keep myself psyched through this area!  I had the movie Stripes going through my head, the part of the movie where they're graduating.

Where have you been solider?
Training, SIR!
What kind of training?
Half Marathon Training, SIR!

It wasn't enough to keep me jogging, but I did keep going.  It seemed like an eternity going up that exit.  Runkeeper notifies me that I've fallen to over 3 minutes off my desired pace.  I get some jogging time back in, but my legs are starting to leave me.  We're past 10 miles, which had been my longest run during my training.

I guess in all my preparations for this, I knew about that hill and overpass, but didn't realize that there are 3 overpasses in a row!  OUCH!  I'm beginning to curse whomever designed this course.  What a rotten idea for this to be at the end of the race.  After the 2nd overpass, there is a kind of switchback area before going over the final overpass.  They have a giant screen and they're asking people questions and shouting out hometowns.  At this point I'm beginning to just want to be done with this.

Then, I'm just about there!  We're at the 12 to 13.1 mile marks!  I'm attempting to jog once we've hit level ground again, but it's coming out more of an exaggerated walk.  I'm thinking to myself that I'm probably looking a little like the beginning of Doctor Detroit, where Dan Ackroid is doing is speed walking.  Although, I've really not got much speed left in me.  I think it's somewhere along here that I run into Lou Mongello again.  He saw me and cheered me on, that provided me with a momentary boost of energy.

I see that we've got many more photographers at this point in the race.  I try to keep the smile up as I go, but it's getting tough.  We go  through Future World at Epcot towards World Showcase.  We to an out and back by the Christmas tree.  As we head back, it's the final stretch!  We're at the choir!  As I pass though, I hear my name shouted again!  It's my Dad, Step-mom, Step-sister and her family!  I muster up a smile and a wave (I think) and go on.  I'm so very happy to have seen them again at this point!  I enter the final chute towards the finish line!  I'm desperately trying to muster up the strength to get my legs to actually jog at this point.  I see Donald and Mickey giving out high fives, I make my way over and give Donald a high five and pass through the finish line.  I keep moving towards the medals.  I make my way into the picture area for the picture below.

Kipp WDW 1/2 Marathon - 3:48:40
Once getting the picture, I grab a banana, a red Powerade and a bottle of water.  I've also got this mylar thing that they handed me.  I'm trying to juggle all of this and take out my iPhone to stop Runkeeper from running up even more time.  I couldn't get the phone out of the arm case!  It's stuck in there and it won't read my touch on the screen.  I met back up with family as I'm trying to juggle the mylar, water and powerade bottles.  I had finished off the banana straight away.

I see a HUGE line, dreading that this is the line for the buses back to the resorts!  OH MY!  I ask a volunteer about the buses, and I tell them that I'm headed to Pop.  Pop is at the end, not where we are now, the huge line was for Port Orleans!  WHEW!  The family and I headed towards where I needed to catch the bus.  I'm a bit wobbly at times, but I'm feeling okay.  Sore, but okay.

On the bus back to Pop Century I chat with some of the others.  Apparently everyone that I'd talked to by this point was amazed that I'd only started running in the prior March and the WDW Half Marathon was my first event ever!

Getting off the bus was difficult.  That ride over to the resort was enough for my legs to stiffen up!  I didn't have to do like in the one commercial  that I've seen about marathons, I didn't have to back down the bus stairs.  I slowly made my way back to the '50's Building to get back to the room.  Once back to the room, I run a bath as cold as I can stand it.  Soaked in it for about 30 minutes.

I took a shower after that and headed out to meet my family at Magic Kingdom!

I know this isn't the typical write-up one tends to see on this event.  I had hoped to take more pictures, but I wound up just concentrating on the music going on my iPod.  I'd pay some attention to all of the events they had along the way, but I really don't remember all of them now!  

I kept running over things in my head over and over to make sure I'd be able to keep going.  How did my legs feel?  Do I feel any Dehydration symptoms? What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?  Are my shoes getting loose? Do I think I need another gel yet?  Did I take water or powerade at the last stop?  What is my favourite colour?

I give shout outs to the people I met up with during the weekend, the members of Team Voice, the Cat and the Dude and Amanda from Alone in Walt Disney World? blog.

The members of W.I.S.H. from DISboards, Rick and Mike and the many, many others that I met at the Pop Century and Boardwalk meets!

Most questions asked of me, and what I'm now answering:

Will you do the full marathon next year for the 20th anniversary?  No.

Do you think you'll do the Half again next year?  I would like to, yes.

Are you going to do the Disneyland 1/2 this September to get your Coast to Coast medal?  I would like to, but the money situation says no, not going to happen this year.

Thanks for Reading!  Regards,


Lighter, Stronger & Faster for 2013!
Walt Disney World 1/2 Marathon - January 7, 2012 FINISHED 3:48:49

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you did really well for your first event. Remember that you'll learn a little more with each event you do!

    Congratulations on the finish!