Its long and mostly true Its as true as I can remember the facts! First and foremost: Thank you to all WISHERS. There's no way I would have ever done this without you Thursday Jan 5: Arrived at Logan and waited at our gate. Naturally, most of the passengers were on their way to Disney. Many were obviously runners. All of the sudden I felt very exposed and embarrassed realizing one or more of them might be WISHers or lurkers who would recognize me and know of all my silly posts! Thats what I get for posting my pics. The plane ride was uneventful. Arrived Orlando ~6PM, let DS pick the car and we drove straight to the Sports Complex. Signs pointed Spectators one way and Athletes another. WOW! Thats me! Im an athlete! I got my bib and chip, tested the chip and saw my name on the screen. We went down to the floor to pick up my shirt but we were all so tired and hungry from travel that we didnt look around. Then straight to POFQ to check in. Dx was feeling really sick (stomach stuff). I felt bad for him and scared it might be a bug that would circulate through all of us. It turned out to just be travel junk. DS and I went to Float Works for dinner at 8:30 PM and to bed by 10:30. Friday Jan 6: I got up early Friday and went to Publix to stock up on water, Power Option, Slim Fast, fruit and assorted food. We then headed to EPCOT. I knew better. Of all the parks, EPCOT is not a rest day park! We stood in line for 10 minutes to have our bag check, another 10 to get through the gate and then 10 minutes to wait to get a Fastpass for Soarin. I was totally disgusted. Weve never been to Disney during busy season. But we had a great day anyway. We did Living with the Land, Dx did Test Track while DS and I tried out the cars. We at lunch and did Spaceship Earth twice (DS loves this one) and then Soarin. It was well worth the wait. We then hopped over to MK. I had just enough time to get them oriented and I was back out the gate to catch a boat to TE to meet my WISH friends. I had no idea it would take 40 minutes to get there and I was late. I missed the photo shoot. But it was so great to meet some of the WISHers. I only WISH I had more time to meet everyone and chat some more. I was worried about DS and Dx so I didnt stay long. I remember meeting Helen, Melissa, Lynn, Cathy, Terri, Colleen, Lisa, Rhonda, Lily. Im sure more will come to mind as I think about it. We were seated in all corners of the restaurant so it was hard to get to chat with everyone. I met back up with my family at MK and we stayed for the fireworks and then back to the room. I had no trouble falling asleep around 11PM but then Saturday, Jan 7: 2:30AM BOOM! Eyes wide open, panic, terror, OMG this is it! This is the night before the night before, Im supposed to be getting a good nights sleep and Im wide away. After about half an hour of laying there, I get up and pace. Finally I decide to do something productive so I turn on the bathroom light and crack the door to give me must enough light to maneuver. I fill my GU flask. Dx wakes and squints at the clock and then at me, What are you doing? Im filling my GU flask. Your what???... nevermind and before I can reply his head is buried under a pillow. Now thats done. What else can I do? Pace, pace, pace. Lay back down. Eyes wide open. Its now 4AM. Maybe a little exercise will help. I do 20 pushups, still not sleepy. I lay back down and wait for 5AM. At 5 I try on some different running ensembles. I know! Ill go for my gentle 2 milers at 6 when the half starts. So I tip toe around and Dx wakes up again. Now what are you doing?, Im going for a run. whatever. He shakes his head, and back to sleep. It was so exciting. I could see the flood lights from POFQ and hear the loud speaker and music. I started my run at exactly 6AM knowing I was running along with my WISH Halfers! I said a prayer for them and ran about 1.8 miles. I came back and put my pjs back on and crawled into bed and waited for the sun to come up. My eyes never closed. FINALLY it was time to start the day. We headed to MGM. By 10Am I was wiped out and wished I could be in bed. But we had a great time. DS and I hung out in the HISTK playground while Dx rode RR rollercoaster then we all went to Lights, Motors, Action and loved it. We had lunch and DS begged to go back to the playground. So we went back, then did the Great Movie ride and left the park. It was so cold I was wearing a ls shirt, jacket and gloves the whole time. We got back to the room around 3PM and I felt horrible. I had a migraine, was totally wiped out and felt queasy. I was depressed, thinking I really blew it. I should not be totally wiped out the day before the marathon. But Dx took DS swimming and then to DTD and I took one of those comatose type naps. (You know the kind, when you wake up feeling like several years must have passed). I felt revived. It was 8PM and a real dinner was out of the question at that point, so I had 2 bagels, a slim fast and some cookies. That was my pre-race dinner. Now it was time to prepare. I got out my race shirt and pinned my bib. I looked in the mirror and realized the pins fell in the most unattractive spots. I repined and repined until I was happy with it. Then the bottoms. After several tries I settled on a pair of Capri tights and loose shorts over the top. I taped the WISH logo to my lime green visor and pinned my screen name and avatar to my fanny pack. My fanny pack contained my cell phone, GU flask, wet wipes, chap stick, disposable camera. My fuel belt contained my two mp3 players and my ade bottles. I didnt bother to try them both on. I carefully attached my chip to my shoe and then put everything together in a sacred little pile. Thats it. I called and set my wake up call. I recalled and readjusted my wake up call. I recalled a third time I walked to Float Works and got a cup of decaf coffee and took in the cold night air. this is it. I was excited but not scared. I went to bed around 10PM and fell to sleep. I woke around midnight with a terrible nightmare about my Dad. It took me a little while to assure myself it was only a dream. Then it was in and out of sleep. Sunday, Jan 8: I got up 10 minutes before the wake up call and called and cancelled it. The pre-race ritual: First a trip to the bathroom. Down 1 Slim Fast. Then brush teeth and commence greasing. Race clothes on, another bathroom stop, another slim Fast. Watch to the right arm, Garmin on the left. Now the outer layers: A black knit scull cap, a hug navy blue hoodie and blue sweat pants, and black gloves. I wake Dx to say goodbye. He wishes me good luck and says you look more like a mugger than a runner. On my walk to the bus I rehash the list over and over. Do I have everything, did I do everything? Relax! The chips on your shoe, the shoes are on your feet, anything beyond that is a luxury. I kept pressing against my stomach to hear the crinkle of the bib to reassure myself I pinned it on under the layers. I rode the bus with a woman from Massachusetts! On the walk to the corrals I saw a woman right in front of me with a lime green scarf. A WISHer!!! I introduce myself and it turns out to be Linda, Crazy4Pooh with her DH. It was so great to meet someone I knew along the way. I get to my corral and theres Bree and her DFIL! Oh I was so happy to meet up with them. They were like an anchor of sanity during the pre-race panic hour. I still havent put on my fuel belt. At 5:15 I decide to make one last trip to the portajon and ask Bree to watch my belt. That was a real close call. It took me 40 minutes to get through the line and then push my way back through the corral to were she was. We exchanged OMGs at how close of a call that was and Christa was there so I got to meet her, too. I cant put into words how great it was to not be alone. Too Much Fun Tapering: I shed my sweat pants and finally strapped on my fuel belt for the first time since Dec 3. It didnt fit!!!!! I could only overlap the Velcro about ½ inch. It was two minutes before the race and I was hopping to keep warm and my fuel belt fell to the ground. That scared me to death. So I picked it up and sucked in my gut and managed to squeak out another half inch on the Velcro. I held onto it for at least a mile for fear it would drop off again. The gun went off and we started to inch forward. I was actually amazed at how fast I was able to assume a slow jog. I reached mile 1 and it said something like 12:52. I forgot that I didnt cross the start at 0:00 so I worried that I was going too slow. Between the darkness, the fog and the fact that I was wearing really dark prescription sunglasses I couldnt make out my pace on my Garmin. I was running way too fast. In fact, the 3:50 Cliff pace team caught up to me around mile 4. When I saw them I slowed way down. Dont do Anything New on Race Day Ya, I know that rule and I thought I followed it. But right before leaving Boston I bought a GU flask. I thought it would be much more convenient to take shots from it than rip open the pouches. After all, how hard could a GU flask be to operate anyway? Well, it turns out, the flask has three settings: closed, half closed and open. I closed my flask with one click and threw it back in my fanny pack. Around mile 6 I decided I had to take off the sunglasses since I couldnt see a thing and I discovered my flask had leaked all of its contents in my fanny pack. I dug out my phone and it was covered. So I got off the course and tried to salvage my phone with wet wipes. I estimate I lost about 3-4 minutes before I gave up and stuck in back in an outer pocket. I couldnt fit my sunglasses in my fanny pack so I had to toss my disposable camera. Oh well, no photos. I had brought a sock to stick my glasses in (though I hadnt thought of the space issue) so I was able to keep them from becoming GUed in the pack. By mile 8 the 4:00 pace team had passed me. That was ok, since I had signed up for the 4:15 team anyway! I felt strong, no fatigue, no pain, unfortunately no GU. All was good in the World. Also due to the GU incident I tossed my sticky mittens way too early. I was freezing. I couldnt use my hands at all. I dropped one of my fuel belt bottles, but managed to get it without causing anyone any stress. I was surprised at how much the clover leafs were banked. I was also surpized at how much harder concrete is than asphalt. I did all o fmy outside running on asphalt. Coming into the Magic Kingdom was unbelievable. The spectators were great. The spectators were great all along the way. There was a group of military people, a group of Mickeys all dressed in black with counterpart Minnies all dressed in white. There was a group of hula dancers that seemed to be everywhere. There were bands and gymnasts doing tricks. It was great. Coming past the castle I was overwhelmed at how fun this really was. I kept telling myself, this is what you trained for. The stretch from MK to AK was really, really long but I felt strong and kept checking to see if I was tired. I wasnt! I felt great. The 4:15 pace team finally caught up to me around mile 16 and I decided to run with them to the finish. That was a nice idea, anyway. I was amazed how much the little tracks and groves in the AK pavement were affecting me. They seemed huge. By the time we were back on the open road (~19 m) I was rethinking the 4:15 pace thing. I lost sight of the balloons before mile 20! But I still felt ok, I just knew I couldnt maintain the pace. And for the first time after all those training miles, I had blisters! On both feet, and they HURT! Mile 22: I was still doing pretty good by mile 22, but my pace was slipping fast. It seemed like FOREVER for MGM to come up. By then I was getting pretty moody. At mile 23 a volunteer/CM yelled out Just a 5K left, you guys can do those in your sleep. I was psyched, that hit me just right. Chocolate Donuts. At each aid station the volunteers would shout out what they had to offer, water, powerade, bananas, etc. I swear somewhere around mile 23 I saw a woman with her arm out and heard Chocolate Donuts. Who on earth could eat a chocolate donut at mile 23???? I must have been hallucinating. Then there were the pedestrians. CMs were allowing people to cross at gaps between runners (there were never many gaps between runners on the whole course). But then there were the rogue pedestrians. They darted out on their own, then panicked like squirrels and stopped midstream, trying to decide whether they should retreat or press on. I had many words for these people, but luckily I didnt have enough strength to transmit them into the air. On the path towards Boardwalk two girls were strolling along. That infuriated me. They just decided to take a stroll in the middle of a marathon???? They didnt impede my progress one bit but I was mad. Then a lady shouted out just two more miles, cmon you can do two more miles. Again I was moody. Ya, you get out here and do two mile. Again, fortunately I didnt have the strength to get the words out, they just bounced in my head. At this point I really didnt care about time anymore. I just wanted to walk to the end. But two things kept me from giving in: 1) I knew there would be WISHers on the Boardwalk and 2) I knew Dx and DS were waiting for me at the finish line. I told Dx I would cross around 10:30 and I was still in line with that statement. So I pressed on. Everything hurt. I was in agony. Cam!!!!! Sure enough, as I ran down the Boardwalk I heard someone yell, There goes a WISHER I looked over and it was Cam! I screamed CAM!!!. Yes the words came out, thats the power of WISH support!!!! That put a bounce in my step that lasted nearly a 10th of a mile! Running through WS was a total battle. Half of me was saying you can do this, you can run 2 miles no matter what, the other half was saying theres no way you can make it, remember how long the last 2 miles were on your 22 miler? You cant do it Thats when Colleens quote came in handy. I suddenly remembered, pain is temporary, finishing is forever. That was my mantra to get me the last leg of the trip. Its not that I ever doubted finishing, but I was really doubting running the rest of the way. Then, there was the Gospel Choir. I dont think Ive ever been so happy to see a choir in all my life! They were dressed in gold robes and I was sure Id remember the song they were singing the rest of my life. For the life of me, I cant recall it now. (Anyone else finish ~4:33 and remember what song they were on? Id love to know!). The Finish There it was! I was in so much pain, but I ran hard towards it. I burst into tears, then stone face, then laughter back to tears. I dreaded walking ALL THE WAY to the W tent, but I couldnt wait to see Dx and DS. I didnt see them at first so I got out my GUey phone and tried to make a call, but they saw me and came to greet me. Dx said he was amazed at how fast I came across the finish line! He said he expected me to be limping. I thought to myself, wow, I hid the limp that well?!!!! I didnt see any other WISHers but I didnt dare ask them to wait around. They had waited at the finish line for a solid hour already. So we got right on a bus and back to the room. Dx left shortly after on the Magical Express and I took DS to the pool. I was freezing so he had to swim alone. We then went to the Magical Kingdom and stayed for the Extra hour. The first few rides were agony to get on and off, but as the night went on I started to feel better. I wore my medal (of course) and saw so many medals around the park. Heather and DH came up and introduced themselves. That was great! Meeting more WISHERS! We stayed until 10PM. Not only did we stay late, but DS played soccer with one of those giant wacky balls and three CMs until he could hardly stand up! He wanted a piggy back but he was out of luck! Monday Jan 9: I was quite sore getting out of bed, but Im really glad we had more walking to do. I really think it helped the recovery. DS and I headed to the Boardwalk bakery to meet with the WISHERs for the Victory breakfast. We all had our medals on and took a few more pics. DS and I then headed to Epcot and spent the better part of the day there. It was so sad pulling in and seeing the abandoned white tents. They held so much significance just a day ago and now they are just leftover props. DS had a blast playing with two great CMs and their remote control cars. They let him drive for a really long time. Afterwards we went swimming and I enjoy pool running. Wow! Running without pain! I got some swimming in, too. It felt really good to move without pain. Tuesday Jan 10: The Day at AK We had a lot of fun at AK but there were a couple of real downers. First, at the Boneyard playground someone tried to steal my backpack. It had nothing of real value in it so I left it in a corner and climbed around with DS. A CM saw a man trying to leave with it and recalled seeing him come in empty handed. So he asked him if it was his and the guy dropped the pack and ran! Then, we went to Tarzan Rocks and Tarzan fell. I dont know if he let go of the rope or if his support system failed, but he slammed into the band and was really hurt. He got up, dazed and confused and looked like he was going to try to carry on, then he limped off of the stage. The other dancers continued dancing for about 30 seconds then the curtains closed and the announcer said the show was cancelled. DS kept asking if Tarzan was ok all day long. I kept assuring him that he was, he just needed a rest, but I was wishing I knew for sure he was ok, too. Cingular is so helpful and the rest of my phone My phone was working intermittingly and then finally stopped altogether. So I went to concierge and asked where the nearest Cingular was. The helpful CM called and got directions and store hours, explaining that she had a guest with a broken phone. DS and I headed out, it was about 10 miles to the store. When I got there the man informed me that he cant help me because I am from out of state. I have to have my phone replaced in my own state. Well what was he thinking when the CM said she had a guest???? Geesh. We then headed to DTD and had a wonderful time. I ran into Melissa and we chatted while DS got really, really bored! But after we parted, DS asked me all about Melissas bike and asked me to ask her to post a picture of her bike (he remembers the pictures of her hanging from the bridge!!!!) Back to the phone . Back in the hotel I try to connect the charger again and it wont connect. I realize that the gunked up GU caused the pins to get bent. I just happened to have a small screw driver so I thought Id try to bend the pins back. I broke them instead. Now I know it cant be charged anymore, but since it worked before the GU thickened, I thought may if I got it a little wet the batter might have enough charge to work again. My big concern was meeting up with Dx at the bus station when we returned. Then I got real smart and thought, before I get it all wet, Ill remove the SIM card so I dont ruin it (the phones a goner already, anyway). Im standing over the sink The SIM card falls out of my hand and down the drain!!!! Now I have to go to Cingular with a totally mutilated, pink gel gunked phone, missing its SIM card and try to explain what happened I think Ill just tell them I lost it. The Cingular guy in FL informed me it will cost at least $200 to replace. (so add another $200 to this free sport). Wednesday Jan 11: We spent the whole morning and early afternoon swimming. Oh I could get addicted to swimming! I made DS be my caboose so I could do pool running and not feel silly. There werent any other adults acting silly. We went to MGM in the evening and ate at the Sci-Fi where we had a really rude waiter. Then we caught Fantasmic which was awesome. Thursday Jan 12: Back to Mass. Oh Im so sad its all over. Returning to the bus station I thought all the celebrating and rewards were done. Wrong! Dx brought me a dozen long stem roses! I was so touched. I don't think I've ever felt so special in all my life!!!!!!! Friday Jan 13: Back to work. Blah. First run since the marathon! 3.25 miles on the TM. IT was great, no pain, and I felt absolutely giddy at the end. I guess I was really starting to have withdrawal from the endorphins! Did 30 minutes of upperbody weights, too.