Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Countdown is Over - Disney Marathon Reveiw -

Walt Disney World Marathon – January 13, 2013. All my training led up to this.

This was my second marathon. I also ran the WDW marathon in 2011. You can read about that here.  Basically, when I ran in 2011 my goal was just to finish. And I did in 5:18:44 (a 12:09 min/mile average). During that race I also stopped to take about 67 pictures, so that significantly added to my time.

But this year, I was running to run. I knew I would PR (I mean, for heaven’s sake how could I not PR??), the only question was by how much. I had trained, running my 20+ mile runs at a 10:30 min/mile pace.  So my marathon goal time was 4:35:00. But my secret goal time was 4:30:00.

And here begins my cautionary tale of how NOT to run a marathon.

"It is hot. You will die"
The weather at Disney was unseasonably warm – highs in the upper 80s.  There were signs all over the expo warning people to CALM THE HECK DOWN and NOT TRY TO PR coz you would PROBABLY DIE, (in those exact words).

So what did I decide to do right then and there?  PR in both the Half and the Full.   Also, in a fit of complete insanity, with a little egging-on from my hubby and running friends, I decided I would attempt to run the first half of the marathon in under 2 hours, a feat I had never accomplished, even when just running a half-marathon, and definitely not in the middle of a full.

Looking back now, I see it probably wasn’t the greatest plan ever.

I got up at 3:15am in order to be in my corral by the required 5:00am. I packed as many calories in my body as I could stand (Boost drink, cheerios, bagel, cup of coffee) and headed off to my corral (C) where I chatted with new friends until the giant fireworks announced it was time to go.

Last non pain-filled smile of the day
I knew the 5:30am start time would give me a couple hours of running temps in the upper-60s, then the sun would come up and the world would burn to a crisp. So when I crossed that start line, I ran as fast as I absolutely could – which wasn’t always easy given the amount of people on the course.

My first 13.1 splits looked like this:

Mile 1 – 9:24 (get out of my way, people!)           
Mile 2 –  8:37                                                                      
Mile 3 –  8:40                                                                      
Mile 4 –  8:42                                                                      
Mile 5 –  8:52                                                                      
Mile 6 –  9: 12 (Magic Kingdom – crowds again)      
Mile 7 –  8:50
Mile 8 – 8:46
Mile 9 – 9:13
Mile 10 –8:59
Mile 11 – 9:08
Mile 12 – 9:28
Mile 13 – 8:57

So I basically kicked butt for the entire first half of the marathon. I ran faster than I ever had before. Seriously. I just kept thinking: keep it under 9:00, keep it under 9:00. I just wanted to make it to 13.1 under 2 hours.  And I did it! I left it all out there and I DID IT!!!

My half marathon time = 1:58:45 . Well under the 2 hours I was aiming for! It was awesome! It was wonderful! I was thrilled.

Then I realized I still had another 13.1 miles.
Laughing or sobbing? Hard to tell.

That was bad.

The sun had come up and the temperature was steadily climbing. I had already used up the greatest part of my mental and physical reserve.

Miles 14-18 were not pretty: 10:57, 10:14, 10:48, 11:17; 10:58

At Mile 19 I had total digestive system failure. I thank my lucky stars I was running through the Wide World of Sports complex at that time because I was able to duck into a *real* bathroom. But that mile ended up being 14:45.

Felt like death for Miles 20-25. Walk/ran the entire way: 11:20, 11:44, 11:11, 11:14, 12:15

At Mile 25, the craziest thing happened. Just when I felt sure I was doomed to walking the rest of the course and ending the race in utter failure, a guy ran by me, turned and saw my hat (my lucky cap from the Hampton Crawlin’ Crab Half)  and yelled to me, “C’mon Crawlin’ Crab, you’ve got one more mile in you! I’m not leaving anyone from Virginia behind. We’ll do it together!”

Sure enough, I picked up the pace and ran with him the entire last 1.2 miles at a 10:04 pace – a pace I hadn’t seen in 11 miles or more – with the guy yelling out encouragement and picking up stragglers the entire way.  We got separated near the end, and I looked for him after I crossed the finish line just to say thanks, but couldn’t find him. I’ll never forget him, though.  I hope I remember to pay that forward in a future race. Sometimes one sentence of encouragement can change someone's entire race.

Ice on calves after race
So my finish time was 4:31:25.  Didn’t quite break the 4:30, and I wonder if I had ran more conservatively in the first half if I would’ve been able to do it. I don’t know. Maybe next time. Although I swore there would not be a next time.  But we all knew I was lying.

Overall place: 3846/20679 (top 19%)
Gender place: 1275/10618 (top 12%)
Age Group (F 35-39): 261/1868 (top 14%)

1 comment:

  1. Update 2/3/13: Looking through my marathon photos I found my super friend who picked me up the last mile. From his bib number I was able to find out his name is Erik and he lives in Hampton, VA. Now I'm on a quest to find him and thank him.