Monday, January 11, 2010

Marathon Day!

Susan here.  We were up at 2:30 race morning to get over to the Epcot before 3:30.  Seems awfully early, but when you are dealing with about 24,000 registered runners, there will be traffic.  We got to Race Retreat package again this year.  The promise of a "climate controlled" tent was very appealing.  They just didn't say what the climate would be...COLD!  I swear the "heaters" were blowing cold air.  Everyone was bundled up head and ears inside.  I felt for the folks that had to wait outside.  The folks that drove could wait in their cars, so that was better.  Still...Brrrr!!    We did have some bagels and peanut butter when we got there, and there were "private" porta-potties there, too.  We also took the opportunity for some photos with Disney characters.

Everyone in Race Retreat waited until the last possible minute to head to the starting corrals.  We made it to Corral D just in time.  We had bought some zip up hooded sweatshirts at Sam's, so we had those on at the start.  One of the really nice things that Disney does is to collect all of the clothing discarded not only at the start, but over the entire course, launder it and donate it to charity.  We both had on two pairs of pants, two pairs of gloves (with hot-hands inside), and multiple shirts.

Mickey and his pals counted down, fireworks shot into the air and we were off.  The first five or so miles were in and around Epcot.  It was thrilling to hear John Williams' Olympic Themes playing as we entered the World Showcase, which was lit by the torches used for Illuminations.  Then on to Magic Kingdom.  Along the way, we were serenaded by a couple of local high school and middle school bands, along with their cheerleaders.

It was so cool to run down Main Street USA with all the spectators cheering us on.  We stopped for a couple of pictures there.  On through Tomorrowland and then, with the herald trumpets announcing our arrival, we ran through Cinderella's Castle.  We completed Magic Kingdom with Frontierland, then the long, backstage stretch to Animal Kingdom, where there was little to look at other than the backs of fellow runners.

Jeff here.  I don't know if it was the cold overall, the fact that we made so many stops in the Magic Kingdom for photos and I got cold there, that I had almost no sleep the night before the race, that I didn't eat enough, or a combination of everything, but I got REALLY cold coming out of the Magic Kingdom and my whole body started hurting.  During the run to the Animal Kingdom I grabbed a Tylenol at one of the aid stations to try to dull the pain.  I also ate a raw banana, and I don't even like bananas, to try to get my strength back up.  I also picked up a CLIF gel shot to try to get some energy.

After a half hour or so I started feeling better and was able to run into and through the Animal Kingdom feeling pretty well.  I shot this nice picture of Expedition Everest (roller coaster) there.  Things continued to go pretty well for me through about mile 21.  We were running slower than our normal pace but at least I didn't feel like I was in any distress.  Things started going south again for me as we turned north into the cold wind and did a couple of runs up hill over an overpass and up an exit ramp on our way to Hollywood Studios.  There were volunteers handing out snack sized candy bars in the park and that again seemed to give me a little energy boost and I was able to make it to the 24 mile marker near the Boardwalk resort.  Just over 2 miles to go but it seemed like 10 for me at that point.  I'm not sure what happened but I felt like I had run completely out of energy. 

Susan, bless her heart, seemed like she could run another 10 miles.  She kept looking back, checking to make sure I was still running, and encouraging me on.  Rather than running a mile or two in between stops I was now lucky to run a quarter mile.  I began looking ahead to something (archway, curve, hill, building) and telling myself to run to that point.  Finally, we made it to the back entrance of Epcot - the International Gateway) and we walked again backstage.  I SO wanted to be able to run around World Showcase and finish out the race but I just couldn't do it!  I'd run until I felt like I was about to collapse and then I'd stop and walk.  When I could breathe again, I'd run some more.  FINALLY, FINALLY we were at the front of Epcot and running past the 26 mile marker.  I decided then that I wasn't stopping until I crossed the finish line - NO MATTER WHAT.  If I collapsed, so be it.  Perhaps it's that same mentality that causes marathon runners to have heart attacks at the finish?  No matter - we did it!  Our time was 4:57:10 - about 15 minutes slower than I thought we'd do but neither of us every expected the conditions that we ran in.

Susan here again.  We went back to Race Retreat (it was still cold even with a lot more bodies in there) for brunch.  First we checked our time at the computers, then got food.  Jeff thought that the eggs were the only thing that tasted good to him.  I got some eggs and potatoes, as well as some of the soup, which wasn't that good, but it was warm.  I ate my soup standing up, while stretching my legs at the table.

After that , we went out to the truck and headed back to Fort Wilderness.  I took a looonnnng hot shower and Jeff took a looonnnng nap.  (I took a nap, too)  After we were all cleaned up and rested (and I washed all the dirty running gear), we went to Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner at Boma, an African buffet.  Jeff was still feeling bad, so he didn't enjoy dinner as much as he normally would.  After a good, long sleep, we are both feeling pretty good this morning.

A side note:  We have seen a lot of wildlife on this visit.  We have regularly seen 4-5 deer grazing.  I saw 7 turkeys at a nearby campsite, and I've seen a *live* armadillo.  I also saw something unusual last night - a cat walking on a leash!  Our neighbors are full-time RV'ers and this is the only way that Scout, the cat, gets outside.  He likes it, too!


Anonymous said...

Amazing... a LIVE armadillo! I figured they were all born dead along the side of the road.
Sorry to hear about your rough stretches Jeff, but marathons seem to be unpredictable in their effect on the human body. When I saw the starting temperature I felt bad for you both immediately. It is tough enough to do 26.2 miles when everything is going great much less when the weather is a mess. But... I'm glad you survived and didn't imitate one of those armadillos I spoke of....
But, I'm so glad you finished... I've walked plenty in marathons due to blisters and all, and while it is frustrating, finishing makes it worth the trouble... I think.

Have a great time and a good trip home... Hasta La Vista.


Anonymous said...

Hi Amazing Spencer's,

We have really enjoyed your Blog and are looking forward to seeing you safely at home. We've saved some snow & ice and cold weather for you.

See you soon.
Your friends,
Lee, Iraida & Toby