Thursday, January 17, 2013

20th annual Disney World Marathon and weekend

January 10-13, 2013

Gina and I headed up to Orlando early Thursday morning. We reached the expo about 8:30, helped with last minute cleanup/setup, got our spots for the day and then the doors opened and we were busy! 10,000 runners for the 5K Friday, 25,000 for the half Saturday and 25,000 for the marathon Sunday. That's a lot of people coming through the expo. And it's not just them. Everyone comes with someone else. Many with multi family members. The first day was crazy busy. Just a non stop flow of traffic. When our lunch arrived. I headed over to the other building that had our bibs. There was no line for my number, so I was able to get in and out fast. I ate a little lunch, before heading back in to quickly pickup my shirt and get back to work. I got to see some friends come in, which made the day fun. Non stop customers made the day go fast. Finally we were done at 7:30, 11 hours later. Gina and I didn't want to wait around any longer to see were everyone was going to dinner, so we just ate at the Applebee's attached to our hotel. Finally we got settled in the room and went to bed around 9:30.

The next day we were back at the expo by 7:30 for another busy 12 hour day. It happened to be busy again, even more so than the day before. I would look up every now and then and see a stream of people flowing through the door. At lunch, I went outside to see a line of people waiting to get in that wrapped around the soccer field and out to the parking lot! My legs and feet were feeling really sore by the end of the second day. I was very happy that we were not working the following day. We got out of there at 7:30, checked into another hotel and met up with Bret for dinner at a wings place. I got the best night of sleep Friday night! We slept in Saturday. Hit a few stores at the outlet mall before resting a bit at the hotel. Gina went off to watch her daughter play in a volleyball tournament and I went to Wolfgang Pucks at Downtown Disney for a dinner with the CAPS.

Vanessa, Brenda, Katie and me before the race!

Gina, Caroline and me
Race morning: Super early start to the day. We got up at 2:45! Left the hotel a little after 3 am, arriving in good time at the parking area of Epcot. We got a great spot, close to the pre-race waiting area. We sat in the car for a bit before heading over to the waiting area for the Maniac photo and to meet up with friends. After checking in Gina's bag and a quick stop at the porta potties, Caroline, Gina and I made our way to the corrals. After a slow walk to the corrals (lots of people) Caroline headed to her corral and Gina and I headed towards ours. I decided to head to the porta potties one more time (we still had an hour to wait) before getting into the corral. Finally, we made it into the corral, worked our way up towards to front of it and then sat down to wait. Time actually went pretty fast and soon enough the first corral of runners where on their way. We were in the third corral, so we didn't have long to wait before we were the next group to go. With a burst of fireworks, we were off!

The first few miles were great. It was warm out already, but not to bad without the sun out. We ran miles 1, 2 and 3 straight through before starting intervals. Our plan was to run 4/1 intervals for the rest of the race. We saw Jeff and Bret early on. Bret ran with us for a couple of minutes before falling back with his friends. We were hoping to see Dave at some point (he had started in the first corral) but no luck. We made it into the Magic kingdom in good time. It was still dark, so the castle looked beautiful with all the lights on still. We stopped for a photo before heading in and stopped for another photo after we ran through. The trip through magic kingdom was quick and soon enough we were on the roads outside the park. So far, I had been sticking to my plan of 1 endurolyte every 2 miles. I'd had one Gu so far, with the plan to have one every 5 miles or so.
Splits 1 through 6 - 9:02, 9:11, 9:21, 9:33, 10:20, 10:28

Just after mile 7, we caught up the 4:15 Galloway pacer. The pace seemed to be about what we were running and when a runner told me they were running 3/1 intervals, I thought we could run with them for a while. So we pass 3 minutes without a walk break and then pass 4 and then 5. Finally when we get to a water station, the pacer takes a walk break! We then head down the very steep tunnel and up onto the Disney Motor Speedway. The pace group slowly gets ahead of us, but I'm good with that. Gina decides to stop at a porta potty, but tells me to go on and she will catch up. So I start my own interval watch (we had been using hers), I slow my pace a little and keep going. I thought the track was kind of cool. We were running on the flat lower section of the track. There were lots of cool cars parked on the side. At one point there was Lightning McQueen, Mater and Sally. I looked at my watch finally wondering why I heard no beep. It still showed 4 mins. Oops. Didn't press the start button hard enough! So I pressed start and kept going. I planned to stop for a character photo and give Gina time to catch up, but I couldn't find one that I really wanted. Finally she caught up with me and we were running together again. :) The next park was Animal Kingdom. We stopped for a photo with Jiminy Cricket and continued on. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat. By the half way point, I was really wishing I was running a half marathon! I still had a long way to go.
Splits 7 through 13 - 10:07, 10:11, 10:08, 10:04, 10:39, 10:07, 10:30

This next stretch of the race had to be the most boring! It was all on the roads. It took us from mile 13 to 17 to get to the ESPN complex. The only cool thing about it was being able to see runners on the other side of the road, who had already run through the sports complex. I could feel myself slowing down. As we entered the complex, I told Gina to go on ahead of me. I was going to need to slow down my pace and I didn't want to hold her back. The complex seemed to go on and on! We ran around a field or two, ran a lap around the track (which was nice) ran around the expo buildings, ran a lap around the baseball field and then made our way out of the park. At mile 20, they had all these cool giant puppets. I stopped for a photo with Tigger. :)
Splits 14 through 20 - 10:25, 10:27, 10:47, 10:49. 11:13, 12:28, 12:05

Based on my split times, my pace really slowed down the most during these last 7 miles. My feet were really hurting, I was stiffening up and I was just so hot! I wish I could figure out why I get so stiff, even in different temperatures. I just kept shuffling along. I stopped at one aid station to slather on biofreeze on both thighs. This seemed to help a little. At the next few aid stations, I was seeing a lot of runners hanging in the medical tents. I was not the only one have problems today. Finally we made it into Hollywood Studios. I didn't know how we would get from here to Epcot in just a few miles, but once we left Hollywood studios, we ran along a sidewalk, along a river, that passed by a couple of resorts before entering Epcot at mile 25. During the last few miles, I had been running with the same couple of runners. One of them, a woman who looked to be around my age, had a shirt on that said "Survived stroke, 1998, Survived cancer 2011, Anything is possible." What an inspiring person! She really helped to keep me going, just by being there and sharing her story on her shirt. I stopped for a couple more photos, one with Snow White and one with Jasmine, before heading out of Epcot and towards the finish. I was so happy to see the finish line ahead of me. I found some extra speed and ran the last bit in, passing a couple of guys, before finishing. :)
Splits 19 through 26.65 - 13:35, 12:46, 12:41, 13:30, 12:58, 13:43, 7:46
Finish: 4:55