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Old 03-03-2008, 04:03 PM   #1
Phedre
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My first Half-Marathon (Jan 08) - Updated 3/11 (Race Day!)

I just wanted to share my half-marathon story. I know when I was training, I was desperate for any bits of knowledge that might have helped me prepare for my race so hopefully this will help someone out in the future

I know I still haven't finished my other trip report yet but this one will be short and hopefully less wordy. Hopefully being the key word :D

Cast –
Runners:
Me: 27 yr old running my first Half-Marathon
Dad: 57 yr old running his first Half-Marathon
Georgia: My parent’s neighbor and good friend, 60ish, super-fit, has run lots of races.

Spectators:
DH: My personal cheering section
Mom: Dad’s personal cheering section
Mary, Art, Barb: More neighbors and friends of my parents.
Gramma: My mom’s mom who lives in Daytona Beach and we drag her into the parks when we visit.

Training recap –

I had started training for this race in Jan 07. I had wanted to do the Disney half-marathon for several years and this year I finally decided to really commit to it and do it. I started out with the C25K program, which was pretty fantastic, but had a few injuries along the way so it took a lot longer than the 9 weeks it was supposed to. After that I did some 5Ks over the summer to get used to the idea of racing as I tried to add on to my weekly mileage.

I also convinced my dad and a family friend, Georgia, to run with me. :D

DH was the one who actually signed me up for the race because I was too nervous and kept ‘forgetting’ to do it. The website also had some extras you could buy at the time of registration. DH ordered me a pin also, but neither of us had any idea what the ‘Champion Chip’ was and it was kinda pricy and we weren’t big Chip and Dale fans so we passed on that purchase. It would have been nice if they had a photo of it online though. If it was really cute I’d probably want it later. But that’s what e-bay is for, right?

By the summer, I was running about 45 miles a month, but my longest run was only 6 miles long. I started doing 3 runs a week, 2 of them about 3 miles and the last was my ‘long’ run, but it never really got that long. In early fall, I finally managed 8 miles a few times but not consistently. As I headed into winter, I started to lose motivation for all of this running. With such dark, cold days I wanted nothing to do with putting on running shoes, even when I was training inside. Every single run became a struggle but I still kept my schedule up the best I could. My goal was to have done a 10 mile long run a few weeks before the marathon, but it never happened. My long runs were all about 6 miles long at that point.

The last few weeks before the marathon, I started to get crazy nervous about it, to the point where it was even keeping me awake some nights. Just thinking too much about the race made me queasy. My goal for the race became to run the first 6 miles like a normal training run, and then to use willpower to gut it out for the last 7+. Maybe not the best plan…..
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82 off-site * Mar 86 CR * Apr 87 Poly * Dec 87 Poly * Mar 89 CBR * Dec 90 CBR * Mar 93 CBR * Mar 94 PO * Apr 95 ASMu * Nov 95 CBR * Mar 96 WL * Dec 97 CBR * Jan 00 off-site * Feb 00 All Stars * 2000 College Program * Mar 00 CSR * May 00 DI * Dec 00 off-site * July 02 BC Conc. * Nov 02 Poly Conc. * Mar 03 CBR * Aug 03 ASSports * Oct 03 CBR * Dec 03 CBR * Apr 04 off-site * Oct 04 Pop * May 05 FW Cabin * Oct 05 Poly * Jan 06 AKL * May 06 CR * Oct 06 POR * Oct 07 AKV (TR here) * Jan 08 AKV - 1/2 Marathon 3:08 (TR here)* May 08 BCV (DH's TR here) * Oct 08 AKV/OKW * Oct 09 BCV * May 10 AKV * Oct 10 DCL/BLT * Dec 10 AKV/OKW/CBR (yup, split stay 3 way, lol)* Feb 11 BWV * May 11 BLT * Oct 11 BCV * Jan 12 AKV *
***Next Up - May 12 SSR ***

Last edited by Phedre; 03-11-2008 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 03-04-2008, 09:41 AM   #2
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1/10/08 – 2 days before the race

DH and I flew in to Orlando super early in the morning and met up with my parents. They were staying in AKL and we were in the villas there which was nice because we were so close. We kept bumping into them all over the place. My dad was also running the race and he didn’t seem nervous at all, which was slightly aggravating. He should have at least understood my pain! I was wearing crocs with socks, which I know is a big fashion no-no but I didn’t care as long as it got me to the race morning blister-free.

We spent the afternoon walking around Epcot having some nice tasties along WS. I was avoiding eating anything too unusual, but otherwise wasn’t worried about carbing up or down or anything like that.

Then it was time for our package pickup at the Wide World of Sports. We were planning on being the first ones in before the lines got too long. Apparently about 2/3rds of the other runners had that same plan though, because the place was packed already and they were busing more in by the second.

We stood in long, crowded lines to get our numbers and my racing chip, and then another one to pick up my pin. Dad already had his racing chip. Remember the ‘Champion Chip’ I hadn’t purchased? Well it wasn’t a Chip and Dale plush doll in racing clothes as I had imagined… it was actually the chip that times your run. Who knew? Ah well, a novice mistake!

We went to the downstairs level to pick up our goodie bags and as we entered into the arena filled with sponsor tents and runners, for the first time I started to feel excited in a good way. As my family walked past a row of shirts for sale, my dad and I were cracking up over the slogans on them. Things like “This IS my race pace” and “This seemed like a good idea 6 months ago.” It started to dawn on me that all of this painful training I had been doing wasn’t just exercise, it was a culture, a way of life, and I was a part of it. Add on to that, these were runners who also loved Disney. I should really feel right at home! It was a very cool moment and the first time in ages my stomach briefly felt normal.

As we walked in and out of the booths, a salesman tried to talk us into buying some disposable rain gear. He was arguing we would need it because running in the rain was no fun. Well I happen to have really fantastic luck with weather so I knew for a fact there was no way it was going to rain at all during our race. The guy kept arguing, “Haven’t you seen the weather channel? It’s going to be so wet!” When I kept refusing, he said that as I was soaking wet on Saturday morning, I’d be thinking of him. I hope he woke up to the beautiful sunny day that was actually the weather on Saturday morning and thought of me :D

We stopped by the official merchandise area and looked at some clothes. I kinda didn’t want any though. What if I couldn’t finish the race? Then I knew I wouldn’t want to look at any marathon merchandise ever again. My family talked me into a t-shirt though and told me not to worry so much.

As we walked out of the Wide World of Sports, we saw that the line had grown exponentially from where we started and I felt bad for all the people walking up. As my husband stated, getting through there was actually the first test of endurance for the marathon weekend. If you were too weak to survive package pickup, you wouldn’t make it in the race!

Dinner was with my parents that night at Yachtsman’s Steakhouse. It was a lovely meal but I know I would have enjoyed it more without the race looming over my head. I kept feeling like I would be sick every time the race was brought up in the conversation, which was a lot since it was coming up so soon! The server was fantastic though, and the food very delicious. The lobster bisque was the best I’d ever had. I almost licked the bowl but I figured my mother would be embarrassed.

That night in bed, I told my husband that no matter what I said later on, NEVER to let me do this race again. It was turning Disney into my sad place. I couldn’t think of any happy thoughts when I started to get nervous because usually I think of Disney and then that reminded me of the race, and then I’d be nervous all over again.

I was up a long time that night going over race scenarios in my head. Getting injured, getting swept off the course for running too slow, finishing strong and feeling great, finishing weak and puking all over the finish line. I just wish I knew how it was going to turn out! I was up way too late thinking about it all…
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82 off-site * Mar 86 CR * Apr 87 Poly * Dec 87 Poly * Mar 89 CBR * Dec 90 CBR * Mar 93 CBR * Mar 94 PO * Apr 95 ASMu * Nov 95 CBR * Mar 96 WL * Dec 97 CBR * Jan 00 off-site * Feb 00 All Stars * 2000 College Program * Mar 00 CSR * May 00 DI * Dec 00 off-site * July 02 BC Conc. * Nov 02 Poly Conc. * Mar 03 CBR * Aug 03 ASSports * Oct 03 CBR * Dec 03 CBR * Apr 04 off-site * Oct 04 Pop * May 05 FW Cabin * Oct 05 Poly * Jan 06 AKL * May 06 CR * Oct 06 POR * Oct 07 AKV (TR here) * Jan 08 AKV - 1/2 Marathon 3:08 (TR here)* May 08 BCV (DH's TR here) * Oct 08 AKV/OKW * Oct 09 BCV * May 10 AKV * Oct 10 DCL/BLT * Dec 10 AKV/OKW/CBR (yup, split stay 3 way, lol)* Feb 11 BWV * May 11 BLT * Oct 11 BCV * Jan 12 AKV *
***Next Up - May 12 SSR ***
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Old 03-04-2008, 12:27 PM   #3
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I can't wait to read more about your experience. I'm definitely enjoying the TR!
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJackson View Post
I can't wait to read more about your experience. I'm definitely enjoying the TR!
Thank you!! :D
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82 off-site * Mar 86 CR * Apr 87 Poly * Dec 87 Poly * Mar 89 CBR * Dec 90 CBR * Mar 93 CBR * Mar 94 PO * Apr 95 ASMu * Nov 95 CBR * Mar 96 WL * Dec 97 CBR * Jan 00 off-site * Feb 00 All Stars * 2000 College Program * Mar 00 CSR * May 00 DI * Dec 00 off-site * July 02 BC Conc. * Nov 02 Poly Conc. * Mar 03 CBR * Aug 03 ASSports * Oct 03 CBR * Dec 03 CBR * Apr 04 off-site * Oct 04 Pop * May 05 FW Cabin * Oct 05 Poly * Jan 06 AKL * May 06 CR * Oct 06 POR * Oct 07 AKV (TR here) * Jan 08 AKV - 1/2 Marathon 3:08 (TR here)* May 08 BCV (DH's TR here) * Oct 08 AKV/OKW * Oct 09 BCV * May 10 AKV * Oct 10 DCL/BLT * Dec 10 AKV/OKW/CBR (yup, split stay 3 way, lol)* Feb 11 BWV * May 11 BLT * Oct 11 BCV * Jan 12 AKV *
***Next Up - May 12 SSR ***
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Old 03-05-2008, 12:25 PM   #5
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1/11/08 – 1 day before the race
Day 2 of the Marathon trip was scheduled to be busy during the day but with an early bed time. DH and I walked into MK for about 20 mins where we finally were awarded our first Year of a Million dreams prize – dream fast passes!!!! (Only took 4 trips to finally get something) We rode the train around the park, then took the boat over to Fort Wilderness for the Segway Tour.

I had done the Segway tour in Epcot in 2004 and DH had never been on one before. I was nervous because I had a near-accident with my Segway on the first tour and almost fell off and the tour guy was a bit peeved with me. I was so nervous not to repeat that experience and I think these guides could tell I was super nervous but they were very helpful and I had no problems the whole time. We really enjoyed the tour. We would ride the Segways for a while on the trails around Fort Wilderness and then stop as a group and the tour guides would ask trivia questions. Most of them were actually pretty tough questions and I didn’t know many of the answers, but then they got onto a round of ‘duck’ questions and I kinda embarrassed myself with how much I knew. I don’t know why but I apparently only remember odd info about Donald and Daisy :P

(Here's the trivia I knew. Anyone else know the answers too? Or is it just me who's a duck freak? LOL

1. What is Donald Duck's middle name?
2. Donald has 3 nephews, so he must have a sister or brother. Which is it?
3. What is the sister or brother's name?
4. Daisy Duck has 3 nieces. What are their names?

Bonus question not related to ducks:
Who is the mascot at the Wilderness Lodge?

Okay this one I had no idea, but someone else gave the answer. The tour guide said, "That's right! But can you sing the song??"

There was silence for a moment and then suddenly a song came crashing back into my head. A tune that I had not thought of since sometime in the 1980s came out of my mouth, along with a small dance, and the tour guide died laughing. Anyone else know the Wilderness Lodge's Mascot's Song?? I'll post a video link later....)

In retrospect though, the tour was probably not a great activity for the day before the race because I was really tense using the Segway and we were standing for so long that at the end of it my feet and legs totally ached.

We were supposed to meet up at MGM with the rest of the family and friends that day but their schedule got messed up some so we ended up not meeting them until that night. DH and I ate lunch at Trail’s End Buffet, which turned out to be a total waste of a meal while at Disney. So many fun places to eat but this definitely was not one of them. It was like a really tiny, low quality, over-priced Sweet Tomatoes. I like Sweet Tomatoes a ton. I don’t like the tiny, low quality, over-priced version of it.

We rested a bit in at AKV before heading out to MGM for the night. Mary and Georgia, who had just flown in that morning, were starving and got sandwiches at one of the walk-up counters but I was really hoping for pasta so I waited on dinner. I had spent a lot of time researching what I should be eating the night before the race and in the end, couldn’t come up with a good answer. So I decided that if everyone else seems to talk about pasta before a race, it must be for SOME good reason and therefore, that’s what I wanted.

We watched Fantasmic, which I haven’t seen in years. It was good and brought tears to my eyes, as always. We did have some of the infamous ‘tour groups’ around, but we were seated far enough from them that they weren’t too annoying, thankfully! Afterwards, we hightailed it back to AKV. We wanted an early night but Mom, Dad, DH and I all still needed dinner. I had checked with The Mara’s menu earlier and so I knew there was no pasta on it but that’s where we ended up for dinner anyways. But to my surprise, they had a special for the night that was a chicken alfredo dish! Great Success!! It was actually really delicious and pretty much exactly what I had hoped for. I don’t know if they did it because of the race the next day or if it was just one of their usual specials but it was perfect. I also picked up some fruit, cereal and PowerAde for the next morning.

As we were eating, I couldn’t escape the race talk. We *had* to talk about it since we needed to schedule what time we were meeting up and where but I just managed to eat enough before my nervous stomach won it’s battle and I had to run upstairs to the room to be sick. If I could have gotten my nervousness under control, this whole race experience would have gone a lot better for me!

I got 100% everything ready for the next day before heading to bed. I pinned my number to my shirt, attached my chip to my shoes, packed my breakfast in a bag, and laid out the rest of my clothes. I was good to go! I set the wakeup call and the alarm clock in the room for 2:25 and *tried* to get some sleep!

I don’t think I was successful.
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82 off-site * Mar 86 CR * Apr 87 Poly * Dec 87 Poly * Mar 89 CBR * Dec 90 CBR * Mar 93 CBR * Mar 94 PO * Apr 95 ASMu * Nov 95 CBR * Mar 96 WL * Dec 97 CBR * Jan 00 off-site * Feb 00 All Stars * 2000 College Program * Mar 00 CSR * May 00 DI * Dec 00 off-site * July 02 BC Conc. * Nov 02 Poly Conc. * Mar 03 CBR * Aug 03 ASSports * Oct 03 CBR * Dec 03 CBR * Apr 04 off-site * Oct 04 Pop * May 05 FW Cabin * Oct 05 Poly * Jan 06 AKL * May 06 CR * Oct 06 POR * Oct 07 AKV (TR here) * Jan 08 AKV - 1/2 Marathon 3:08 (TR here)* May 08 BCV (DH's TR here) * Oct 08 AKV/OKW * Oct 09 BCV * May 10 AKV * Oct 10 DCL/BLT * Dec 10 AKV/OKW/CBR (yup, split stay 3 way, lol)* Feb 11 BWV * May 11 BLT * Oct 11 BCV * Jan 12 AKV *
***Next Up - May 12 SSR ***
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Old 03-06-2008, 07:53 AM   #6
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I didn't know any of the trivia questions...
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Old 03-06-2008, 10:42 AM   #7
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Oh goodie, then it really IS just me who's a duck freak, rofl. I swear I don't even like Donald and Daisy all that much :D

1. What is Donald Duck's middle name? Fauntleroy
2. Donald has 3 nephews, so he must have a sister or brother. Which is it? A Sister
3. What is the sister or brother's name? Dumbella
4. Daisy Duck has 3 nieces. What are their names? April, May and June

Bonus question not related to ducks:
Who is the mascot at the Wilderness Lodge? Humphrey the bear

I still have to find that link with the video.. but the song goes... "First you pick it up, you put it in the bag, Bump! Bump! Then you bend your back, you put it in the sack, Bump! Bump!.."

And with the bumps, you have to bump hips with someone else, lol. I remember dancing around the house as a kid singing and bumping hips with family members :D
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82 off-site * Mar 86 CR * Apr 87 Poly * Dec 87 Poly * Mar 89 CBR * Dec 90 CBR * Mar 93 CBR * Mar 94 PO * Apr 95 ASMu * Nov 95 CBR * Mar 96 WL * Dec 97 CBR * Jan 00 off-site * Feb 00 All Stars * 2000 College Program * Mar 00 CSR * May 00 DI * Dec 00 off-site * July 02 BC Conc. * Nov 02 Poly Conc. * Mar 03 CBR * Aug 03 ASSports * Oct 03 CBR * Dec 03 CBR * Apr 04 off-site * Oct 04 Pop * May 05 FW Cabin * Oct 05 Poly * Jan 06 AKL * May 06 CR * Oct 06 POR * Oct 07 AKV (TR here) * Jan 08 AKV - 1/2 Marathon 3:08 (TR here)* May 08 BCV (DH's TR here) * Oct 08 AKV/OKW * Oct 09 BCV * May 10 AKV * Oct 10 DCL/BLT * Dec 10 AKV/OKW/CBR (yup, split stay 3 way, lol)* Feb 11 BWV * May 11 BLT * Oct 11 BCV * Jan 12 AKV *
***Next Up - May 12 SSR ***
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:48 AM   #8
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZjoxSDEvbo

Here's the link for the video of the Humphrey Hop, the song that came back to me while riding the Segway. I can't believe I remembered this out of the blue :D
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82 off-site * Mar 86 CR * Apr 87 Poly * Dec 87 Poly * Mar 89 CBR * Dec 90 CBR * Mar 93 CBR * Mar 94 PO * Apr 95 ASMu * Nov 95 CBR * Mar 96 WL * Dec 97 CBR * Jan 00 off-site * Feb 00 All Stars * 2000 College Program * Mar 00 CSR * May 00 DI * Dec 00 off-site * July 02 BC Conc. * Nov 02 Poly Conc. * Mar 03 CBR * Aug 03 ASSports * Oct 03 CBR * Dec 03 CBR * Apr 04 off-site * Oct 04 Pop * May 05 FW Cabin * Oct 05 Poly * Jan 06 AKL * May 06 CR * Oct 06 POR * Oct 07 AKV (TR here) * Jan 08 AKV - 1/2 Marathon 3:08 (TR here)* May 08 BCV (DH's TR here) * Oct 08 AKV/OKW * Oct 09 BCV * May 10 AKV * Oct 10 DCL/BLT * Dec 10 AKV/OKW/CBR (yup, split stay 3 way, lol)* Feb 11 BWV * May 11 BLT * Oct 11 BCV * Jan 12 AKV *
***Next Up - May 12 SSR ***
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Old 03-08-2008, 10:35 AM   #9
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I want to run the 1/2 next January. I'm used to running now at 5:30 a.m. Central Time Zone. I'm concerned that my body will feel like it's getting up in the middle of the night for the race.

You said that you were up at 2:45. How was that for you? Did you crash really hard about noon?

P.s. Your narrative is great. Thanks.
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Old 03-08-2008, 06:58 PM   #10
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I ran my first half in January too. Reading your TR is bringing it all back! Keep it coming!
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:05 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gopher5 View Post
I want to run the 1/2 next January. I'm used to running now at 5:30 a.m. Central Time Zone. I'm concerned that my body will feel like it's getting up in the middle of the night for the race.

You said that you were up at 2:45. How was that for you? Did you crash really hard about noon?

P.s. Your narrative is great. Thanks.
Thanks for reading!! :D

I'm in Central time zone too and I'm usually running about 6-6:30 am. It IS kinda like being up and trying to run in the middle of night.. it is really dark out still but once you get to the race area, they have tons of big lights and loud music, and just being there with SO many people in the excitment of all really helped me out. Even so, I was kind of tired by the time the race actually started - sort of a weary/sleepy tired. I don't think the situation is really ideal if you are looking to run your absolute fastest race ever, but for the experience of the race, I would totally say go for it!! It was a great time that I will never ever forget :D

A bunch of family/friends came in that afternoon so even though I was pretty tired out, we stayed in the parks all day. I wasn't moving real fast, but I was moving, lol. I think a lot of people still managed to be out in the parks because I saw lots of folks proudly wearing their Donald medal :D

Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseDogMom View Post
I ran my first half in January too. Reading your TR is bringing it all back! Keep it coming!
Yay, congrats on your race!! :D Thanks for reading :D
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82 off-site * Mar 86 CR * Apr 87 Poly * Dec 87 Poly * Mar 89 CBR * Dec 90 CBR * Mar 93 CBR * Mar 94 PO * Apr 95 ASMu * Nov 95 CBR * Mar 96 WL * Dec 97 CBR * Jan 00 off-site * Feb 00 All Stars * 2000 College Program * Mar 00 CSR * May 00 DI * Dec 00 off-site * July 02 BC Conc. * Nov 02 Poly Conc. * Mar 03 CBR * Aug 03 ASSports * Oct 03 CBR * Dec 03 CBR * Apr 04 off-site * Oct 04 Pop * May 05 FW Cabin * Oct 05 Poly * Jan 06 AKL * May 06 CR * Oct 06 POR * Oct 07 AKV (TR here) * Jan 08 AKV - 1/2 Marathon 3:08 (TR here)* May 08 BCV (DH's TR here) * Oct 08 AKV/OKW * Oct 09 BCV * May 10 AKV * Oct 10 DCL/BLT * Dec 10 AKV/OKW/CBR (yup, split stay 3 way, lol)* Feb 11 BWV * May 11 BLT * Oct 11 BCV * Jan 12 AKV *
***Next Up - May 12 SSR ***

Last edited by Phedre; 03-11-2008 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:18 PM   #12
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Race Day!! :D

1/12/08 – Race Day!

I’m sure I must have drifted off a bit here and there but when the alarms started ringing, I felt like I had just tossed and turned all night. At the same time, I was wide awake and for the first time, my stomach actually felt calm. DH helped me remember all my last minute things and then we were out the door to meet my dad in the AKL lobby. Since we were running with Georgia who was staying at All Stars Sports (sorry, couldn’t remember the ‘correct’ way to abbreviate that without getting into trouble here), we decided to drive over to pick her up instead of taking the recommended Disney transportation from the hotel. A part of me really had wanted to take the bus, just because I wanted to get the full experience, but then the other part of me decided it was just as well to have our own car there for comfort and convenience.

We picked up Georgia promptly at 3:00 am and headed to Epcot where we got in with no lines or waiting. We looked like we were some of the first racers there. We weren’t alone for long though. Pretty soon, streams of people were flooding in past our car to the pre-racing area set up in the parking lot of Epcot. We had a good time people-watching from the car and we were just shocked as to how many people really were pouring into the park this early for this race! I was now starting to feel nervous because I always run in pants but everyone else seemed like they were wearing shorts. I hoped that wouldn’t be a mistake… how warm could it be in January in the early morning hours?

We nibbled on our breakfast items while we were staying warm in the car. I was pretty concerned about this part of the process. They always say don’t do anything different on race day, but for previous runs, I always just drank some Gatorade and went. But this was going to be a longer race, and a longer bit of time to get to the race than usual. So I was going to put more food on my stomach than usual and cross my fingers for the best. I had a banana, some Frosted Flakes, and then drank a huuuge bottle of the PowerAde before we got out of the car. I was also going to carry some Sports Beans and Sports Gel with me. I had tried both of those in the middle of longer runs so I was not worried about them.

We had all brought some blankets and pillows in case we wanted to get a little more sleep in the car before the race started, but I think we were really all too excited/nervous, so we decided to head on into the race area and check out what was going on in all of the tents.

When we got out of the car, it was a touch chilly in short sleeves but not bad at all. Also, not a drop of rain. Take that, rain-gear selling guy! The whole situation from this point on was just surreal. It was still pitch black outside as we walked in the parking lot where tons of tents were set up. People were just milling about, or plopped on the ground stretching, eating, sleeping, resting. There was a live band on a stage playing loud, up-beat music. In responce to the loud music, Georgia commented, "Their neighbors must hate them!!" We laughed and my dad responded, "This is Disney! They are too big to have neighbors!" There were also lots of port-a-potties. And behind all of that in the distance, the large purple-lit geodesic dome that is Spaceship Earth. So Weird.

We used my dad's cell phone to take a few photos of us but I've never seen copies of the pics since we've been home so I'm not sure if those actually came out or not. None of us had thought to bring a real camera for the race.

We set a meeting point for after the race. Actually, Disney has set up meeting point tents with letters on them. But we choose to meet at the one for my dad’s last name, since all of us runners had different last names. The only real problem I saw with the set up was that you couldn’t automatically tell that there were TONS more port-a-potties beyond the bag check area. The lines at the front set of potties was gigantic but the others all had almost no lines.

I did see a large group of Dissers in the lime green shirts sitting in a group and wanted to drop by and say hi but then my shyness got the better of me and I just secretly smiled at everyone and stuck with my group. People had then started moving out of the pre-race area and towards the corrals. We took our last port-a-potty stop and then joined them.

I would like to take this brief moment and say thank you to those nice gentleman who let me cut in line in front of them for the port-a-potty because whoever was in mine was apparently not ever going to come out. I was waiting there for the longest time (I saw the person go in so I know it wasn’t just accidentally empty!) and the guys saw that and let me go in ahead of them. I don’t blame the guy in mine though – it’s not his fault. I totally understand the nervous stomach issue and I hope he was able to take care of his business and have a lovely race with no more stomach problems!!

The walk to the corrals was equally eerie as the pre-race area. As far as I could see in front of me, there were runners. As far as I could see behind me, there were runners. We could see the entrance to the Epcot parking lot area and cars full of runners were still streaming in. We were walking towards some huge bright light, possibly brighter than the sun. I didn’t know where I was going – I just hoped the people in front of me did! When we got to the F corral, we had to say good-bye to Georgia. She was starting in the second wave of runners because she is super fit and had a good enough time from other races. Dad and I headed to the front of our corral and sat down because we still had something like an hour and a half before our race would begin!

Not too much longer after that, and people began jumping over the corral fences to head down into the bushes for a last potty stop. That’s when I really began regretting drinking that whole huge PowerAde. I always heard Disney did a good job with lots of bathrooms for their races so I hadn’t been too worried about it, but now that we were stuck in this corral, with the port-a-potties a ways back, I realized I was going to have a problem. I’m not the go-in-the-bushes sort of person. I just can’t do it, especially with more people heading down there every minute. That wasn’t going to work. I realized I was going to have to tough it out the best I could and just stop in the first potties I saw along the race. I tried to remember from the race map where they would be and my guess was after the first mile. I wasn’t so sure I could make it that long.

There was music and announcers for the beginning of the race, but honestly we couldn’t really make out what they were saying. It wasn’t that they were too quiet, they were just too far away. Someone sang the national anthem which was a neat experience in the quiet of the night…. Thousands of us singing along. Very neat :D Then the first wave of the race was off with a burst of fireworks. Wave 2 moved to the front line and we shuffled forward also. Then more fireworks and they were off. I couldn’t believe we were actually here, at this moment! I started to get a little choked up as we moved to the start line to wait our turns. My dad and I hugged a last time and said good luck, and then there were the fireworks and we were off and running too!

To be continued!! :D
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Old 03-11-2008, 05:27 PM   #13
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Next time, stop and say hi to the group in the lime green shirts. We're all Dissers who run or walk and love racing (particularly Disney races) and have our own weekly thread where we talk to each other all year long. We LOVE meeting new people! Check us out: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1748383

You're right - it is surreal watching thousands of people converge in one area in the middle of the night.

Can't wait to read more!
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MouseDogMom View Post
Next time, stop and say hi to the group in the lime green shirts. We're all Dissers who run or walk and love racing (particularly Disney races) and have our own weekly thread where we talk to each other all year long. We LOVE meeting new people! Check us out: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1748383

You're right - it is surreal watching thousands of people converge in one area in the middle of the night.

Can't wait to read more!
I know everyone would have been so nice and I totally should have stopped by but I was all nervous already and I couldn't handle anything else scary at the moment :D LOL Thanks for pointing out that thread though .. I knew people were talking about racing but I wasn't really sure where!! :D I'm going to have to check it out
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:57 AM   #15
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Mile 1 – (from this part on, I may get not have the exact mile where things happened though I’ll try my best, but I think it’s understandable, it was an overwhelming, exciting, exhausting time!!)

It was still pretty dark as we headed down the road. For a bit Dad and I shuffled together slowly behind everyone. The crowd was too thick for us to move very fast. Then he saw an opening in the crowd and made a break for it. I followed behind him for a bit and then I saw my salvation – 2 port-a-potties along the side of the road!! It wasn’t even 3 minutes into the race and I could still very clearly see the start line, but I had to stop! I wasn’t the only one either. There were a number of people in line in front of me and we were all anxious. None of us wanted to come out to find ourselves dead last in the race!

While I was standing in line, the grass or something kept bothering my ankles and so I kept swating at them. I could see one of the girls next to me had the same problem too. There was a security station right next to the potties and one of the uniformed guys called over to us, "Hey, look out for all the ant-hills over there!" AHH it wasn't grass on my ankles, it was little ants!!!! It was really dark and I have no idea how we were supposed to "look out" for them in the grass but we just started hopping around and smacking our ankles. I'm sure we looked very foolish :P When I got home after this, I was still finding little ants smushed into my shoes and laces :P I was not amused..

I took the fastest potty break of my life and came out of the john running to catch back up to the crowd. I didn’t need to have worried – people were still crossing the start line even. There were just that many runners that it took that long. I felt like I had to make up some time though so I did a lot of darting in and out of people, and running through the uneven grass. I really wish I wouldn’t have bothered though, because before too long I started to feel as if I had gone the same distance side-to-side as I was in a straight line. It was just a lot of extra energy that I could have saved to use in later miles! Also I noticed right away how my feet were starting to hurt. I hoped they wouldn’t get much worse but I was concerned. In good news, now that I had my potty stop behind me, my stomach felt just great!

I had my nice Garmin GPS/stop watch set to show my pace. When I could run, it was showing around 11:30 minute miles, but sometimes it was so crowded that I was going much, much slower. I reminded myself just to keep it under the 16:00 min mark and I would be safe.

I missed the very first water station. It was just too crowded for me to easily move over to the sides and there were so many cups and wetness on the ground I was more interested in watching my step then getting something to drink. I know they always say drink at all of them, but I really didn’t feel thirsty yet and just bypassed it. I’ve done 8 mile runs with nothing to drink so I wasn’t really worried about being overly thirsty.

Mile 2:
This was where I really started to panic about how the race was going to go. I had run several 5k races over the past year and so the first 3 miles shouldn’t have been anything to worry about, especially at the slow pace I was keeping. Before I was even at the entrance to MK, my legs were feeling odd and shaky and I just had an overall “not good” feeling. I tried to tell myself that it had been a long morning all ready, being nervous probably took up extra energy, so there were plenty of reasons why I would be so tired already. But with 11+ miles still looming over my head, I was really very concerned. I was still keeping near my 11:30 minute miles pace, which was a little slower than I might have liked but I knew I couldn’t be pushing the speed at this point.

At the next water station, I had already decided to go with PowerAde instead of water. I knew it wouldn’t make me queasy and hopefully it would keep my calories up to make it through the whole thing. For me, this turned out to be a mistake. It put this sickeningly sweet taste in my mouth that I couldn’t shake for the rest of the race. I wasn’t really feeling all that thirsty yet so ended up dumping most of the drink in the garbage.

In this area, we were also starting to pass the first runners on their way back. They had already run 9+ miles!!! The runners on my side cheered for them like crazy, myself included. It was a great lift to the spirits to do all that yelling and shouting. The other runners didn’t cheer back, or really even seem to notice us at all. Can’t say I blamed them, really!

Mile 3:
Part of the course on mile 3 split the racers as we were going through the MK parking lot. You had your choice of sides based on what type of music you liked. On one side they were playing disco type music, and the other was rock-and-roll. I think they just put this in to make the run more interesting as we were in a boring parking lot, but for some reason, this choice was a huge mental conundrum to me. First of all, I wasn’t expecting it. Second of all, what if I chose wrong? What if one way was longer? What if one way had something on it and I tripped and couldn’t finish the race and then I was always thinking, “Why didn’t I just choose the Disco side?!?” I wasn’t even sure which music I liked better!

In the end, I made my decision because I had been following a guy with a t-shirt that said “Blood, Sweat and Ears” on it and I just followed him through the disco section. How choosing the other side would have affected my race time, I guess we’ll never know….

Mile 4:
We ran up to the TTC and to my surprise, this was the first place there were really race spectators cheering us on, not just volunteers. I wanted to stop and walk for a bit but how could I when they were cheering so loudly? One runner near me saw her family and started jumping around like crazy, all excited to see them. It was really cute and touching to watch but I was just thinking, “I better not see my family because I am WAYYY too tired to move like that!”

This was also where we first had an opportunity to use real Disney bathrooms, rather than the port-a-potties stationed along the road. My original goal had been only to use the Disney ones but that plan obviously went out the window real early on and I didn’t have to go again so I just kept on shuffling forward, hoping I didn’t look as bad to the spectators as I felt.

Mile 5:
Moving on to the road that runs under the water-bridge and past the Contemporary, I just really felt like I was dragging. It was packed in this area and while I didn’t want to block the road with my slowness, I didn’t have anywhere else really to go to get out of the way either. This hill going down was a bit steep and I was really surprised no one tripped because there were some really uneven surfaces on both the road and the sidewalk. I almost fell stepping funny on the gutter at one point and I could just see the headlines, “Complete klutz falls and breaks many bones at Disney Half Marathon!”

As we were past the Contemporary coming up to the guard bridge to enter backstage of MK, the whole area just smelled like barnyard to me. There weren’t port-a-potties around or anything so I don’t know what was causing it but it was making me really nauseous. I was extra scared of puking during the race though because the race paperwork had said that if you saw a participant throwing up, you should report them to a volunteer and they would have to go to a medical tent and I didn’t want to do that! I just wanted to keep running, and hopefully get to some cleaner air.

Mile 6:
We ran a little bit backstage of Main Street East. When I was a CP, this was my backstage area and I hadn’t seen it again since. I didn’t really see much of it this time either though because I was really just focusing on putting one foot in front of the other. I really had thought that getting to MK would just fill me with energy and happiness (like a typical day entering into the park) but no, not even close. I think I felt even more let down when I realized that seeing the castle put no extra spring in my step after 5 or 6 miles!! I had really been counting on that extra MK burst of energy and when I realized I wasn’t getting it, I really started to panic.

I knew my family was going to be watching the race from here for a while before heading over to the finish line. My mother had said she wasn’t sure they would stay very long in MK so they probably wouldn’t see me. I really was hoping that they weren’t there for a few reasons. Number 1, I was afraid they’d see how slowly I was going and feel like I was being lazy. Number 2, I was afraid I’d see my DH and immediately run over to him crying about how horrible I felt and tell him that I didn’t want to do it anymore so could he please just take me home! I just kept hoping that they had left for Epcot already! They could be disappointed in me with my slow finishing time instead of my slow half-way point time and it wouldn’t give me an opportunity to back out of the race.

As I rounded through Fantasyland heading for the castle, I was feeling about as glum as you can get in MK. People were jumping off to the sides to get their pictures with characters and I was feeling sick and cranky and struggling along. I didn’t have a camera, but even if I did, I was afraid if I tried to stop for characters I wouldn’t be able to get started again. I had wanted to feel so good running through here!!

That’s when I finally decided that how I felt was up to ME, and no one else, not even my aching feet, uncertain tummy, or sick-sweet taste in my mouth. As I started towards the castle, I plastered a big smile on my face and picked up a little speed. After all, not very many people get to experience this!! The smile was half-faked to begin with, but soon it was real. My mom and DH were standing right on the other side! They spotted me right away and cheered like crazy and it was AWESOME. I didn’t have even the slightest thought to beg my DH to take me home. Instead, I started cheering and waving like crazy too, and blowing them kisses as I ran by. It was outstanding. My entire spirits were lifted and I floated through the next chunk of the race. I don’t remember anything else until we were going backstage again.

At this point, I snapped back to reality because women around me were shouting, “Johnny Depp!!” I looked around, baffled, and then I saw a huge pirate ship in front of us with Captain Jack Sparrow on board waving at all the runners. He was fantastic and I couldn’t help but laugh about it. I’m not sure if runners could have gotten up there to take pictures with him or not but I definitely enjoyed the whole bit. So well worth it!

To be continued.... :D
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