RR: Disney Marathon

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  elkid 13 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #2147

    elkid
    Member

    I signed up for this race a year in advance, sneaking it into my 10 year anniversary celebration (talk about good timing). But the weeks leading up to it did not serve me well. I got burned out from an intense fall racing season including the never-to-be-eclipsed joy and experience of NYCM and my very hard-earned huge PR in Philly 2 weeks after it. The day after Philly I was diagnosed with pneumonia, and my 7 week period leading up to Disney was marked with illness, apathy, low mileage, and self doubt. My car was struck by a car, and I was struck by a car while running. My mileage stunk, and I managed only 2 long runs, 15 6 weeks out and then 19 4 weeks out. 4 days before the race I got a horrible bronchial thing (talk about bad timing) complete with sneezing, aching, runny eyes and nose, and a cough so fierce I pulled 2 rib muscles and my throat bled. Yes, setting me up for a good race. Despite knowing I’d probably only last until mile 14 or 15, I decided to shoot for the full instead of dropping at the half to see just how tough I am. Last year I had plenty of physical challenges, a few mental ones, but rarely did they coincide. With IMLP only 6 months away, I figured I’d see just how far I could go on so little. However long it took, it took. I wouldn’t have the race I wanted because of life and its strange pattern of events, but I would turn a negative into a positive and see what I had in me.

    I got up at 3 and ate breakfast, drank some coffee. My feet already hurt, having walked more than a few miles in WDW the previous 3 days. Left my hotel at 330 in warm, humid weather (not a good sign) looking for my friends I never found. One of the gazillion Team in Training cult members kept babbling on during the bus ride to the race start. I got off the bus at 4am, not knowing I’d remain on my feet until nearly noon. We walked half a mile to the staging area, then another .62 to the race start. I liked the dark start, and loved when a dude knocked over a portajohn while in it – he spilled out of it and the contents spilled on him. 😆 Finally I got to my corral and waited for the race start at 6am. BANG! the gun sounds and we’re off. Not. Took 5 minutes to get to the start, and I watched the half marathoners running on another road parallel to ours on the left. I figured I’d go at training pace, then reevaluate as necessary. But I was terrified my ill-prepared and undertrained body would fail me.

    This course, truth be told, was a disappointment. The promised “amazing” crowd support was very sporadic; these people don’t know from crowd support. Only about 6 of the 26.2 are in the parks themselves, with the remaining course consisting of connector roads, highways, and more parking lots than I could count. The parts in the parks, excluding the final death march through Epcot’s World Showcase, were awesome but the rest of the course was tedious and boring. And most of it was on concrete, which pretty much had my legs screaming by mile 7. The weather, unseasonably warm and humid (55 at race start, 80 when I finished with humidity in the high 90s) didn’t help, either. Add to it the fact that I was sick twice and coughed for most of the race, and I had a fun day.

    Miles 1-2 were a retracing of our original traipse to the start line. Highway and byway to Epcot park. Mile 3 was at the base of the Epcot ball, and this was one of few highlights: running through the first section of Epcot in the dark, followed by a brief tour through a few countries through the illuminated connector bridge. I smiled as I saw the world pavilion lit up in lights, so pretty it seemed in the distance. But then a left and we were on the backlot. Mile 4 marked our sync with the half marathon – like it wasn’t congested enough. My times were better than I expected, however, and amazingly consistent despite my training. We ran on highway until we entered Magic Kingdom, the second highlight, at mile 10. We ran through the main entrance, where a lot of people were screaming for us by name since our bibs had our names on them. We ran through Tomorrowland, then looped around and went through Cinderella’s castle. We snaked through Adventureland, and once again left for a great highway/parking lot combo at mile 11 that continued for another boring 5.5 miles. Past a waste treatment plant, even.

    At the halfway point I so desperately wanted to go left and finish with the half marathoners, for I knew I didn’t have much left in me. A smart person would have stopped, so I of course went straight knowing I had maybe a mile, two miles in me and that the rest would suck. I had to earn the shirt, and the T-shirt my husband bought for me at the expo. I threw up somewhere during mile 15 because I was so hungry, and I kept hacking and wheezing. I managed to pull another 2 rib muscles during the race – joy of joys. At mile 16 I confirmed my suspicions: my race had ended at mile 15, as predicted, and now I was just hanging on. We briefly entered the third highlight, Animal Kingdom, for a half mile at mile 16.5. The concrete was really taking its toll, but there was no relief in sight. After our brief stint in the park we left for another 6.5 miles of connector roads/parking lots. I was sick, tired, couldn’t stop coughing, but managed as best I could. The heat was getting to me, so I started hydrating more than I like to.

    At mile 22 a medical aide came down the hill to get some water for the tent just past it. “Lady, are you OK? You look horrible. What’s with your face?” I was so salt-encrusted I looked white as a sheet. He pulled me into the station to carefully wash my face and give me PowerAde and a few salt packets. When I hit the split I saw this had cost me a lot of time, but I no longer cared too much about time. As long as I finished under 5:45 my husband wouldn’t fear I was dead, and I’d be somewhat satisfied with my efforts. Just before mile 23 we entered the final highlight, The End. We ran through MGM Studios, through the costuming area, and continued up and out of the park via the main street where spectators completely ignored us. Yet another parking lot took us along the Bayside Marina, where I coughed so hard just past the 24th mile marker I threw up in the marina. The lovely Run to End Stroke team helped me, giving me pretzels, candy, and PowerAde.

    Finally we were back to Epcot, dumped in between Canada and the UK on the world pavilion. It took every fiber of my being (and the man behind me pulling me back on course) to not stop at my beloved Rose & Crown Pub for a pint. Mile 25 hit at France, where I asked if I was hallucinating and was assured I was not. Past Morocco, Japan, the US, Italy, Germany, China, Norway, and finally Mexico, then back to Future Land. A sore muscle in my right hip had caused me to limp from mile 14 on (where I’d started), and now it was screaming. We went down a short incline, and I couldn’t put weight on my right leg. I hopped down the incline and would have hopped off the course and into a wall had not a kind spectator stopped me and pushed me back onto the course. Death march nearly complete. Finally I heard the roar of the sparse crowd and knew I would finish what I’d started. With .2 to go I straightened out as best I could, and passed 2 people – including an elderly man – in the chute. My husband was shocked at how bad I looked, he later said, but was amazed as I was that I’d finished. Sunburned and so swollen he had to help me remove my watches and shoes.

    The marathon I’d wanted? Hell no. But I got what I deserved with marathon #4, and what I’d expected, due to dismal training, illness on race day, and bad weather. Lessons learned? Definitely. I confirmed what I need to do to prepare for marathons, and that I’m much tougher physically and mentally than even I imagined. A personal worst, but a course PR nonetheless so my PR streak continues. The mental battle that went on, that I gloss over here, was staggeringly difficult to overcome but I did it. Not the best race, but the best I could have hoped for. I make no excuses for my performance, though I could legitimately make some. So many faster athletes did poorly due to the heat and humidity. But I didn’t have it in Disney, yet I made do. Sometimes, that’s the lesson. And a powerful one at that. One that finally helped me get my athletic head together, and that forged a focus missing from me for awhile. I didn’t get any glory with this race, but instead got confirmation and clarity. Enough to keep me satisfied, despite my time. My main goal was to do as best I could without having the race take over my anniversary trip, so I was successful. I then just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the rest of my thoroughly relaxing holiday.

    Final stats: 5:36:59, 12:52 pace, 5,215/7,726 beating 33% of finishers. 2:01 for 10M, 4:11 for 20M. Splits: 12:21, 12:23, 12:21, 12:24, 12:04, 12:02, 11:54, 11:53, 11:52, 12:00, 12:24, 12:22, 12:06, 12:10, 12:19, 13:03, 12:53, 13:14, 14:09, 15:16, 13:09, 16:00, 13:30, 12:17, 16:36, 12:18, 2:01 (.2).

    P.S. I’m still sick as I write this, so to just finish was pretty badass. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words. My husband’s postrace ones are interesting; here are official ones:

    Don’t know where this is, but judging by my swelling sometime during the second half:

    disney1.gif

    With 1, 1.5 to go – “dear god let this end”:

    disney2.gif

    FINITO!

    disney3.gif

    Next up: chasing a PR at the NYRRC 7 mile on 1/22.

  • #17320

    Zeke
    Member

    A few things jumped out at me.

    …never-to-be-eclipsed joy and experience of NYCM

    Well, I guess you’d better just hang up your sneakers. Why continue to compete if you’ll never eclipse the joy and experience you’ve already acheived?

    A personal worst, but a course PR nonetheless so my PR streak continues.

    I guess you can make the rules up, but this is the strangest PR I’ve ever heard.

    Also, WTF are you doing in black tights in those conditions?

    Also, is running your best sport or are you better at swimming or biking? Just curious because with IMLP only 6 months away – you need to get serious with your training. I don’t know if you’ve done any other Ironman events, but you can guess they’re not easy. My PR going into the one I did was 2:58, yet I could only manage like a 5:45 marathon. So if you’re only in 5:00-5:30 shape heading into an Ironman, you’re in for a long day.

    Anyway, congrats on your finish. Sounds like a tough mental battle, which you’ll definitely need come Lake Placid.

  • #17321

    elkid
    Member
    Zeke wrote:
    Well, I guess you’d better just hang up your sneakers. Why continue to compete if you’ll never eclipse the joy and experience you’ve already acheived?

    NYCM was a very unique experience, one that wasn’t detailed here. I come back because I can.

    A personal worst, but a course PR nonetheless so my PR streak continues.

    I guess you can make the rules up, but this is the strangest PR I’ve ever heard.

    Course PR.

    Also, WTF are you doing in black tights in those conditions?

    I live in Philadelphia and packed days in advance. I opted to wear UnderArmour over newly-purchased shorts because I didn’t want to wear something unfamiliar.

    you need to get serious with your training.

    I think I acknowledged that my training was sub par for this. I’ve had some serious issues the past four months you know nothing about. But thanks for the reminder.

    heading into an Ironman, you’re in for a long day.

    Duh. That’s an obvious one. My goals are different than those of you on the competitive set. Remember motivations differ. But my friend did this marathon and did it in the exact same time as she did her IMLP marathon in ’04. Not a huge discrepancy like yours. It can be done, especially when my only goal will be to finish.

  • #17322

    Zeke
    Member

    Do you think there’s a chance that IMLP could be more satisfying than NYCM?

    Yea, it’s a course PR, but you’ve never run the course before. Using your criteria, I could run a PR every time I head out the door. But again, you can make up your own rules.

    I think I acknowledged that my training was sub par for this. I’ve had some serious issues the past four months you know nothing about. But thanks for the reminder.

    I’m not trying to rip you. I think we’ve all entered races when we weren’t properly prepared. I’m just saying that an Ironman is a totally different animal and 6 months IS NOT a lot of time. I realize you may have different motivations than me. There’s nothing wrong with just wanting to finish an IM. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t train to do your best and hopefully minimize how crappy you feel on race day. Seriously, you don’t want to half-ass an Ironman then be miserable for 17 hours trying to make the cut-off. Or worse yet, not making the cut-off.

    Again, just trying to motivate you a little.

  • #17323

    elkid
    Member
    Zeke wrote:
    Do you think there’s a chance that IMLP could be more satisfying than NYCM?

    Not even remotely. That’s how special NYCM was.

    I’m just saying that an Ironman is a totally different animal and 6 months IS NOT a lot of time. I realize you may have different motivations than me. There’s nothing wrong with just wanting to finish an IM. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t train to do your best and hopefully minimize how crappy you feel on race day. Seriously, you don’t want to half-ass an Ironman then be miserable for 17 hours trying to make the cut-off. Or worse yet, not making the cut-off.

    Again, just trying to motivate you a little.

    Thanks for the clarification. I know I will be close to the cutoff. I’ve started training, but will be doing it in tiers. I begin in earnest first week in February. Though truth be told, even fully trained I know my results will be terrible in comparison to some, but that’s not important to me.

  • #17324

    Anonymous

    With all the mishaps in the weeks prior, you probably should have bagged it. Oh well. Enjoy the mouse-ears.

  • #17325

    Elkid,

    Sorry to hear you had such a rough time. I don’t know what else to say except you now know what happens when you go into a LONG race with insufficient training. Good Luck with your IM training and I hope you can hit your goals.

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