GETTING TO RACE DAY!
I'm back from the warmth and sunny skies of FLA! I had so much fun and really enjoyed it. We got in Thursday late (around midnight). We woke up on Friday and went to the expo. for packet p/u. That went smoothly and I was able to get my corrals moved up to the front. I spent most that day relaxing in the sun in a hammock with my husband. I ate pizza the night before and was rearing to go.
HALF MARATHON DAY PART 1
Saturday I had to get up at 2:30 a.m. to catch the last bus at 3:30! Yikes! That's so early. Brian was demanding before we left that he was going to drive me to the start line. Well, he let me get on the buses while he slept in. That part went smoothly and there was alot of electricity in the air with all the other runners. The bus dumped us off and we had to sit and wait in the holding area and drop off our drop bags. The bag drop was in a large tent, for some reason that morning I had trouble with the alphabet! You were supposed to drop your bag with the first letter of your last name, I stood there for a while saying the alphabet. Finally I decided this one was good enough! Luckily I was in the right area!!! At 4:45 the gates were opened to allow us to make the trek to the start line. This is a good half mile walk to get there. I made it to my assigned corral and sat there to wait for an hour!! They had lots of entertainment with music and big screen TV’s. While I sat there on the pavement and waited I chit chatted with other people who were doing the Goofy challenge. But, 15 mins before race time I was jumping the fence to use the woods, since there weren’t any porta johns to use nearby. I had to mark my territory anyway, it's becoming a signature! I hopped back into my corral, listened to the National Anthem, watched the fireworks and we we’re off! The temps the first day was 68* with 85% humidity. Remember I’m coming from 20 degree temps I’ve been training in. I have decided that I’m going to take the half marathon easy and enjoy the run. I was predicting a 2:10 finish time. Once we started I felt as if I was struggling to run, grrrr… I’m dogging it! I try to relax. There was entertainment on the course. Within the first couple of miles I run past a marching band playing some awesome music! I love listening to marching bands and think of my daughter playing. Okay, I’m getting sentimental! I cheer and wave to them!!! Next we have a hill (really it’s an on ramp) but, the music is so loud I don’t even think about the hill, I’m dancing while I run! I love this song! I’m really smiling and just loving what I’m doing right now! I’ve got to hold back the pace and be ready for Sundays big run! So I pull the pace back a bit. The next couple of miles are fairly uneventful there’s music along the way and a few early spectators. I pass by the speedway. There’s a racecar out there and they have the sounds of race cars going around the track. I’m feeling zippy! Once I get by there I pass a guy who has his headphones on and is singing out loud! Once I get past him I say to a guy next to me, that that guy needs to keep his day job! I got him to laugh over that one! We’re heading towards the Magic Kingdom! I know that this race is almost halfway over! We go by the Contemporary Resort I’m smiling and just enjoying the moment! I play with the crowds to get them to raise the noise! They start waking up and the noise level rises. The miles clicked by quickly!! I make a few turns and I’m entering Main Street of the Magic Kingdom, I feel as if I’m five years old and I’m running freely down the street with so many people on both sides of the street! The path is narrow because they are crowding into the street. It feels great!!! I can see Cinderella’s castle in front of me! We wind through the park. There is familiar Disney music playing and all the rides are going with no one on them. I see Mary Poppins and many other characters!! I’m getting choked up, I’m just so happy to be here! I have to get myself focused and pull back the pace again! I turn the corner to go through the castle and up above there are guys playing horns as if the king is coming! It’s just so cool! I wave! I come through the castle with a huge smile! The picture guys are there to take pictures!! Now I’m entering frontier land! I love this part of the park! I see cowboys, the toy story characters and they are playing western film music! Now we are getting ready to leave the park through the back gates. I turn a corner and I am in awe once again! There’s a huge pirate ship with Jack and a bunch of other Pirates on it! It’s so cool! Jack looks just like Johnny Depp! As I get back on the road leading to Epcot I see signs along the way, some with trivial questions and some with funny quotes. Some of the quotes are so funny that I busted out laughing many times! As I am heading towards the last few miles I chat with a few people along the way, I also encourage a few people that are struggling to make it to the end. In a blink of an eye I was in Epcot headed for the finish! Holy cow, it’s almost over! I allow my pace to pick up for the last mile. This is so cool as I pass a choir before the last corner! These people are so inspirational, the energy level rises again! Woo Hoo I see the finish line! Charge down towards it and it’s over! That went by too quickly. I do my normal post event stuff, return my chip have my finishers medal put around my neck and head for the food tent! I’m disappointed all they really have is bananas, oranges, water and PowerAde. I grab what I can and head towards the Goofy tent. I need to get my wristband changed as proof that I completed the first leg. One race down one to go!!!!! Time to head back to the hotel for my first ever ice bath and let the eating begin!
I make my way to the bus and I start heading that way but end up going the wrong way. I ask the guy who is turning me around which way do I go. He just points back to the finish area and says that way. I’m confused and upset. Another guy starts walking the exact same way I just came from and I tell him to turn around. We finally figure out which way we need to go to get on the bus. Phew! I make it back with Brian smiling, and saying that was an easy half marathon I can hardly wait to finish the full tomorrow! I smile and make my way to the tub. The ice bath wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. I think Brian had more fun dumping the ice in. Once I got used to the temp. I was fine. Once I was dressed, Brian and I headed over for some much deserved food! Yummy! The only bad thing is when you get up at 2:30 a.m. by 10 a.m. you’re ready fro some lunch! But, the only thing I could find was breakfast. I had to make that work. Once I ate we headed back to the room. Brian was up for some driving around Disney property to scope out where they could go to spectate on Sunday. Part of the ride I don’t remember because I fell asleep in the car. He had a plan and was ready for Sunday. After munching throughout the day, evening was upon us and I really didn’t think I was up to eat dinner. We made reservations a few days in advance to eat a t a resort restaurant. I wanted to eat fairly early so that I wasn’t going to bed on a super full stomach. Everyone ordered and I ended up ordering prime rib with garlic mashed potatoes and veggies. During the middle of dinner Brian made a note and said I thought you weren’t very hungry? I guess I was because I had cleaned my plate and was starting to eat off Brian’s plate. By 7:00 p.m. we were headed back to the room so I could go to bed. I was trying to fall asleep but with Brian watching the Green Bay game in Green Bay I just couldn’t close my eyes! It was a great game. My last comment to Brian was “make sure I get up in the morning!!!!” I usually never need an alarm and just wake up but I was afraid that because this was the second morning in a row I would sleep through.
DAY TWO MARATHON MORNING!!!!!!!
I wake up at 2:30 a.m. without a problem but, get up right away because I’m afraid that if I lay there any longer I won’t get up! I shower and do my normal pre-race prep. I make oatmeal, get a banana, some Gatorade and make half of a bagel. I carry this and my drop bag to the bus stop at 3:30. I kiss Brian goodbye and he whispers good luck, have fun and don’t do anything stupid! I say thanks and I’ll be fine! Out the door I go. I get to the bus stop and there are already people waiting for the bus. I start eating my oatmeal and see a few others who are Goofy participants also. I make a comment that I feel like I did this yesterday. As we stand there I can already tell it’s warm and very humid! It’s so humid I can see it in the air! I shrug it off because the weather will be what it will be, no use in stressing over it. The bus picks us up and we are off to the runner’s staging area. Today I didn’t have trouble with the alphabet and actually felt smart. I knew where everything was and what I had to do!! Ohhh yea this is my day!!!! I feel good, no soreness and no other aches or pains. Once again we are released to the corrals. I start the trek; it’s longer than the day before. I make my way to the corral and promptly sit down. I need to stay off these legs as much as I can. I have an hour wait. Soon after I sit down I noticed a guy that I had met the day before. I jumped up and walked over to where he was sitting. I felt as if I met an old friend. We sat and talked the entire time. I laughed and we discussed what we ate the day before. We also discussed race strategy. I got quiet and he says “ I like your game face.” This isn’t my game face. They also had music videos and entertainment just like Saturday. BUT this was different! They sang the National Anthem and started the fireworks while they moved us forward. The fireworks were incredible this time. They shot them off a bridge, which I was standing under until we were moved forward. This was so awesome I looked up and all I could see was the sky lighting up with fabulous colors! Soon after we were crossing the start line, but I forgot something. Oh crap! I didn’t go to the bathroom prior to starting the race. So after I crossed the start line there is a bunch of porta potties. Cool, there’s a line but I’m clever, someone comes out and I run right in before anyone notices! Cool, I was in and out. Now, onto my trek of 26.2! We begin on a road with portable lights guiding us along. By mile 2 we are in Epcot running through the countries and I’m already soaked in sweat!!! Uh oh I just need to settle in. When we started we had a red start and a blue start that went in two different directions and then we merged as one when we began coming out of Epcot. Mile 4 went by the start line once again. As I passed through there I happened to glance to my right and caught sight of Brian!! I yelled “Brian!!” and raise my hand above my head. He yelled back “I see you!! Nice job!!” That was an uplifting time for me but, it’s too early in the race. Onto Magic Kingdom! It’s long kinda boring section and not as exciting as yesterday. We have a hill climb and there is music playing “It’s hot in here” I say to someone “no kidding” I’m trying to settle in and I’m feeling better, but not like usual. Once again the marching band is playing and I get choked up again thinking of my daughter. Just before Magic Kingdom we pass the Contemporary Resort with lots of spectators. This helps! I’m looking forward to getting on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. I play the crowds a little but, they’re still sleepy!! This is where I decide I really need to take my shirt off. I did it in Chicago I can do it here. While running I carefully remove my number from my short to my shorts. I take my short off and tuck it in the back of my shorts. I didn’t want to lose this shirt!!! Woo Hooo!!! I make it to Magic Kingdom but, it’s not as exciting as it was the day before. I still loved it and couldn’t wait to get to Animal Kingdom. Leaving Magic Kingdom we had another boring section to run. By the way, the golf course on Disney property is outstandingly beautiful!!!! There is music throughout this and there are basically no spectators. Oh No! I feel the urge to go to the bathroom again! I get past mile 14 and decide I can’t wait anymore!!! I see a couple of porta johns and make a bee line (this is only for fun right????) I get in there and drop my shorts but I hear something fall while I’m in there. I look down and my shirt had fallen down the porta john. Oh crap! Well, I can’t be upset and I’m not going after it either!!!! I get going and get back up to speed. I make it to Animal Kingdom; this was a quick run through the park. I pick up my form and smile while photographers are there! Make it look good!! We exit the park and it’s another long boring section. I didn’t bring my headphones and really could have used them right now!!! I think of my dog and how happy she would be running with me. I try talking with other but they don’t want to talk or they are with a group of others. At mile 18 my body is starting to complain and I just don’t feel like I have much energy. I start walking through aid stations. As I’m running I see a guy that I have been passing back and forth. I see him walking while I’m running. I put my hand on his back and say “come on buddy I’m not leaving you behind we’ve run together for too long today to leave you behind!” He starts running with me and we strike up a conversation for quite a while. We talk about our families and where we are from. We were at mile 22 when I lost him at an aid station in the crowd. I continue on and there was a section of out and back. Once again I have to go to the bathroom!! What’s the deal!! I never go while I run a marathon; I continue on and see him. I’m almost to the turn around and he has already turned around. He yells come on Miss Michigan!!! I yell back I’ll be right there” I never caught back up to him. Yeah!!! We make it to MGM Studios!!! I know of the upcoming aid stations is serving chocolate and I could really use it right now. I have a choice Baby Ruth, plain chocolate or Nestle Crunch. I grab the Baby Ruth!! This candy bar never tasted so good!! Soon after I ate it I thought uh oh! I need water to wash this down. Wa la Water up ahead!!!! That candy gave me a good burst of energy and I looked great going by Brian who was waiting for me at mile 24 ½ !!!!! I was smiling once again and never so happy to see him. He took pictures as I flew by! Okay onto the last park!!! Back to Epcot and I’m done!!! I still feel as if I’m struggling but I know the end is near. We enter Epcot and have to run through all the countries again. This is where all the people are and they are very awake now!! As I get through the last ½ mile I round the corner to see the gospel singers again. Yeah, the end is near! A few steps and I’m rounding the corner again for the final push of the last .2 miles. This area is loaded with spectators cheering loudly!!! I cross the finish line somewhat relieved that I’m done but also disappointed that it’s over. Once I cross that line there are workers waiting to take your timing chip off your shoe and you are given a mylar space blanket. Who needs that when it’s 77* out! I am awarded my finishers medal and it’s off to the refreshment table. Same stuff as the previous day. I make a bee line for the Goofy tent to retrieve what I came here for, my Goofy medal!!!! They check me in and congratulate me on finishing and hang the Goofy medal around my neck. Next step getting my picture taken with both medals. In the meantime I see the guy who called me Miss Michigan. We briefly chat and congratulate each other. Now it’s time to get my drop bag, call Brian and head to the bus!!!! After my call to Brian I shuffle towards the bus but, oh no I have to go to the bathroom again!!! The bus driver tells me he will wait for me!! I dragged myself on the bus and chatted with others. I make it to my resort and as I get off the bus there are people sitting there cheering for me because I did the Goofy!!! Pretty cool feeling!!! I thank them and continue to shuffle my way to my room but as I do another Goofy finisher stops me and hands me a beer to drink in celebration!! That night and the next couple of day’s people that did the Goofy would make eye contact and you would give each other that familiar nod. Congratulations were said back and forth many times. I topped the next morning off by having a character breakfast with Goofy. I was very strong adamant about doing this!!! We spent the rest of the day at the parks walking off the pain.
Would I do it again???? Absolutely! It’s just very expensive but a very fun relaxed event. I’m looking forward to my next big event on May 10th, I will be attempting my first 50 mile trail run.
Going home was fairly uneventful except for the issue I had at the airport going through security. As we went through security they stopped me and asked if they could look through my camera bag. I didn’t hesitate and said yes not a problem. The guy started opening a zippered area and I freaked out on him. Yelling “You can’t have those!!!” He gave me a weird look and said I have to see what it is. He pulled out all 3 of my finishers medals. I told him I just ran 39.3 miles for those medals, you can’t have them!! I worked hard for those!! He saw what they were and smiled. His reply was these are so cool! Then proceeded to show others that worked with him the medals. I got a lot of that’s cool and smiles. He gently handed me my medals and told me it’s fine. He also told me I was insane for running that many miles. I smiled back with my medals securely in my hands and said thanks!!!!!