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Old 11-17-2013, 05:23 PM   #1
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Perhaps unusual question - knowingly not finishing a race?

Hi! DH and I are registered for the 2014 full. About halfway through training, a life-long problem of mine flared up. I'm seeing ortho regularly, PT, etc and getting injections - but we're unsure how things will look come January.

My "rules" allow me to do what doesn't hurt. Sometimes that's a bit of running, walking is usually ok but it's time-prohibitive to train to walk the full at this point.

I plan to keep doing what I can to keep moving...
But am well aware that it will take the perfect storm of intervention, time, and God deciding I don't need surgery yet in order to finish

I still want to start, for the atmosphere and to support DH who is training his butt off. I'm not at all worried about pacing out of the race, but if I have to stop because it's otherwise time... what happens?

Are the "sweepers" something I'll see if I sit on a curb somewhere? Will they care to pick me up, and where do I go? Is it more advisable to seek out a med tent?

Sorry if this sounds ridiculous. I'm not willing to push an injury too far, but also not interested in transferring to 2015.

Any suggestions for the-one-who-hates-not-knowing-exactly-what-to-expect?
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Old 11-18-2013, 03:55 PM   #2
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Hopefully this thread will be moved to the Events and Competitions forum right near this one.

There are others who talk about doing this. From reading responses to those, it's OK to do, and I assume you could either seek out aid or just wait for sweepers to find you. I believe the course maps show where aid stations are so you could have an idea of where you would want to stop or maybe just start walking if you can make it that far.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:13 PM   #3
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Oh you are so right! It has been so long since I was active here (those twins to the left are 5 and have an 18mo brother)

Hopefully someone will move it!
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Old 11-24-2013, 02:32 PM   #4
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I appreciate the mental side of not knowing if your body will say no go earlier than hoped for in a race. First, as a coach if you are fighting an injury that you know will keep you from finishing, I suggest not starting. Statistics point to runners pushing well beyond where they should have gone once the gun fires. As a side note, the study suggests that one should not make the go nogo decision any later than 3-4 days out from the race.

Now that we have the precautionary note over, you should also understand that you are not the only one at the line who knows they may not finish the race due to injury. The process is really two fold so here is what you need to know/see.

1) if you are failing on pace you will see the sweeper line marked by the infamous balloon ladies. It is also my understanding that the mile markers will have a warning flag posted if you are falling behind. There is a van following this moving line and if you just fail to keep moving once the pace line passes, the van will stop for you.

There are hard sweep points where busses are set to pick up higher numbers of runners who are failing to keep pace. These are usually placed at points where the course comes back onto a public road; so leaving MK, leaving the DAK parking lot, WWoS parking lot and at the turn off from Osceola to World Dr. There are other spots that I see busses but am really not sure if they are staging or waiting.

If you do get into DHS, the general rule of thumb is that you will be left to finish as long as you are moving. I qualify this as I know of 3 different cases of folks being swept past that point.

2) If you pull up lame, make your way to a med tent. By far, this is the more painful way for a non-critical issue to pull out. You will be forced to wait until the sweep van comes by. With your pre-known issue, it would be a good idea to know where these spots are located.

Once on a van or bus, you will be dropped at a location near the finish line. Somewhat controversially, you will be handed a medal as you get off the bus and have access to a post run drink and food. Personally, I do not think Disney should hand out the medal but understand that there is an ‘expectation’ of acknowledgement of effort. So understanding that one is handed a medal, I fully understand a participant wearing the medal. If it were me, I would just pocket the medal and hang it in a pace of shame in the house… using it as motivation to work out what forced me to the bus.

I know this is a tough to do race. It’s stressful to run a marathon and to add an injury on top compounds the pre-race stress exponentially. I have started the marathon twice thinking I would not see the finish line. One was an ankle issue that kept me from walking well while in the room. Amazingly, the ankle loosened in the staging area and I finished. The other time was due to a stress fracture. I thought is a high sprain and ran the first Goofy on it only to find 4 weeks later what it was.

Good Luck.
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:07 PM   #5
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Wow, thank you so much! That is exactly the information I was looking for.. and then some. I really appreciate your advice on when to make my final decision, etc!

My physical therapist would like me to call it now, but I feel like there is so much time. At the same, he knows me well and knows that I am EXACTLY the runner you referred to first - that will want to go farther than I should if/when I'm out there.

I'll be reading this again as the day gets closer. Thanks again!
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:51 PM   #6
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I'm hoping that you will find the finish line and also find the fun along the way.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tink2020 View Post
Are the "sweepers" something I'll see if I sit on a curb somewhere? Will they care to pick me up, and where do I go? Is it more advisable to seek out a med tent?


Any suggestions for the-one-who-hates-not-knowing-exactly-what-to-expect?
Yes, yes, and if you feel it's best, yes.

I found myself in a similar situation last year due to a hip injury that sprang up during a long run in November. I ended up being swept at mile 21. My husband and I had been training together, and though deep down I knew I probably wouldn't cross the finish line I figured I owed it to myself so see what was possible, and I didn't want to bail on my husband. Here's my race recap if you'd like more details about how the day (and being swept) went down, but basically, you can always pull off at a med tent or just hang back and wait for the sweepers if you're not feeling well. Otherwise, if you're at the very back of the pack (particularly if you find yourself behind the balloon ladies), the bike medics will start swarming at a certain point. From what I witnessed with others, if you park it on a curb, someone will check on you and offer to wait with you until the van gets there to pick you up. I was swept at an actual roadblock (where the race turns from Osceola back on to World Drive) and there was a charter bus waiting for us. It made one more stop before dropping us somewhere near the finish line. I was so disoriented at that point and just wanted to make it to the finish line to meet my husband (we split up around mile 15) that I didn't even see any food/water.

Wow I didn't mean to write this much. Still kind of feels like yesterday. We're coming back to run the half this year. My hip is still kind of screwed up (femoral impingement syndrome, good times) so hopefully this will all go better than last year.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions!
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:37 AM   #8
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I don't know if someone mentioned this but if it were me and I were gung ho on trying...

I would suggest starting in the last coral. The reason being is that the balloon ladies will travel after the last runners cross the start line in the last coral...However far you go...you hopefully wont have to wait long before they catch up with you..somewhere behind them are those white sweeper vans.

Since you don't know how far you will go...3 miles or 23 miles...if it were me, I would rather be closer to the back...
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:43 AM   #9
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Not exactly the same thing but I had something similar happen to me at this year's Princess. This year was hot for February and coming from Colorado where we were having a snow storm, well my body didn't handle it to put it mildly. I was more of a run/walker at the time and was able to keep it up until mile 4 and then I got nauseous. And dropped completely to a walk. And that's when I entered the 'know I'm not going to finish' zone since you take away my ability to run, there goes my ability to finish. Made it another 2 miles (right past the half way point on the course) before I got past the pacers and their silver balloons.

After I got past by the pacers I mentioned to two of the bikers that I was feeling sick and I needed to get on the bus. The two of them talked a bit glanced back at the buses that were a bit of a ways back. One took off to stay with the course and the other stayed with me until the bus got closer.

The bikers are pretty nice. Both times I got swept one stayed with me until I got on the bus. Heck one took a photo for me at the last photo chance before the bus ride back. That was at WDW Full in 2012 where the DNF resulted from recovering from a really bad sinus infection.

Also a bit of a heads up. I'm not sure if Disney isn't changing the pacers from balloons to something else. At the Disneyland half they were using bright orange flags. And I think I might have seen the Wine and Dine pacers at the race towards the very end (last mile or so) but I can't say for sure. Whoever they were didn't look like they were wearing balloons either. As for Disneyland I didn't see them until they were on top of me (I finished since I cleared the sweeps shortly after at mile 10) since I wasn't looking for flags. So Disney might be changing to flags, because I know in the past both coasts used balloons to mark the last runners. Just an observation.

Finished RunDisney Races: Princess 2012, Tinkerbell 2012-2014, Disneyland Half 2011-2012, Dumbo Double Dare 2013-2014, Wine and Dine 2013-2014, Avengers 2014, Disneyland 5k 2012 & 2014, WDW 5k 2012
Finished Races: Nike Women's Half Marathon 2012, San Francisco Half Marathon 2012, San Francisco Marathon 2011, Downhill at Dawn Half Marathon 2011, Santa Anita Derby 5k 2011-2014, Golden Gallop 10k 2013, Surf City 10k 2013, Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon 2011, Rock 'n' Roll Denver 1/2 Marathon 2011, 9/11 Remembrance Run Half Marathon 2011, Race On the Base 10k 2014, Innovation Run 5k 2014, Grand Prix of Running 10k, LA Quarter Marathon 2014, Wounded Warriors Half Marathon, and other races I am missing off the top of my head
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Old 12-08-2013, 09:53 AM   #10
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Agree with Coach Charles' post completely.

And my experience: I had an injury a couple of years ago, heading into Goofy. I did the 5K and half ok, then was questionable for the full. So I started the race. By mile 5 to 6 I realized it was a bad idea, and with the guidance of a friend of mine, I made the decision to stop--my walking pace wasn't going to get it done and I didn't care to risk further injury.
My options for where I was (and the version of the race course we were on--it has since changed) were:
1) had I made the decision one mile earlier, I could have easily cut back over to the Epcot parking lot start/finish area and go check in with runner relations. 2) if I thought I could walk several more miles, I could get to the TTC and then bail out and ride the monorail back over to Epcot. 3) walk as far as the next medical tent and get a ride from there. I didn't think about waiting for the sweepers because was in a mid-corral and that would have been a longer wait.

I chose option 3, and did have to wait quite a bit at medical for a few more runners to get in the van and be brought back as Charles described. By the time I waited, the last runners were going by (on the other side of the road), so I maybe could have opted for a sweeper van over there, too.

"The miles aren't going to run themselves."

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Old 12-09-2013, 11:22 AM   #11
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I was supposed to run the full with a friend, but she had to give up training. She had a baby at the end of March via an emergency C-section. I was pretty surprised when she still signed up for the marathon after that.

Anyway, between caring for the baby and actually hurting her toe at some point, she gave up on the marathon. I've been trying to convince her to at least run to MK and see the castle and everything before giving up. She already paid for the race, why not enjoy some of it? Am I encouraging "bad" behavior here? I know she would probably still get a medal, but that isn't the point of starting.

No Disney trips currently planned
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