Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Disney 2009 Race Report

Wow, I have really looked forward to writing this one! First let me say that we had a fantastic time and no matter what - I have absolutely no regrets. That said, you must forgive me in advance as I will like slip between family fun photos and race moments. Not the typical format for a proper race report but this was not a proper race (for me anyway!).

Thursday we headed off the airplane and it was the first time on a plane for the kids. I was nervous for them but they were excited and LOVED the take off. Descending was not as fun for my little one but it quickly passed as they realized we were in Florida!
Getting excited on the plane

This is Daddy, calm cool and relaxed (because he is on the opposite aisle from kids :)
Thursday night we arrive at the All-Star Sports Resort in Disney World and the over-stimulation has begun! My 6 year old son was the perfect candidate for a WDW vacation as he LOVED every second of it.

Getting the Sword from the Stone
Cannonball!
Walking up to the Castle for the first time
Driving the race car with Poppa...(notice Poppa almost having a heart attack with a three year old girl at the wheel.)
Jedi in training vrs Darth Vader (my son's highest point of the trip - absolutely)
So much to see at once...
A REALLY cool stunt show with lots of explosions and fast cars etc...my husband and son were literally at the edge of their seats. Me however...let's just say this was the day after the marathon and our seats where several steps down---- several. Enough said.
The magic of the castle can really get you - even the grown ups!

We arrived on Thursday and left on Tuesday. I went into this event with the full intention of completing a marathon, raising lots of money for the Joints in Motion and having a fantastic family vacation. I had no expectations of the marathon and although I had some hopes for a finish time, I was not prepared to sacrifice my other goals to do it. We'll get to that later...

Friday was the run expo and the reception where I spoke to the team. I was happy with my speech and I think it came off ok?? I have no pictures of it but I understand the chairperson of the team took quite a few so I am sure I will get some sent to me. It was more emotional than I had thought it would be and at the end when everyone stood up and was clapping - I had myself a short but thorough breakdown. This whole experience has been pretty overwhelming so it was worth a few minutes of weepy! After a few moments all was well and we headed off to dinner and to the expo!

First let me say that Disney's Wide World of Sports was pretty cool. The expo was very spread out so you got your number and chip at one spot, walk, walk, walk, climb stairs, out door, across path, walk, walk, walk and head into place where you get your t-shirt and kit, walk around and into expo. At bit confusing but there were no lines despite the thousands of people. Having the expo over several days probably helped. Bear in mind, I have little to compare it to so my standards are low. However, I didn't get much time to wander around the expo because I had my whole family with me but I did manage to get a cool sweater to commemorate the event. The T-shirts were also really nice - and long sleeved.

The next day was Saturday when they were having the 1/2 marathon. This is where things start to get a little different then I would normally do (and probably most of you would do). I had a lot of debate about how to handle the days coming into the marathon. The brain in my head said I should lay low and perhaps hang around the pool for the day. My husband and parents agreed to take the kids into a park so I can cool out. I had already decided that this was not going to happen. I did not come all this way with my family (for my daughter) just to let them have all the fun and miss out of the faces of little kids in the happiest place ever! The day before I had stayed at the Animal Kingdom for only 1/2 the day because I had to head out to my reception and expo so I didn't want to miss anymore. So...I went to the park with kids and we had a FANTASTIC time for our second day in the parks. We didn't stay late but we had a fun day none the less. I did everything possible to stay off my feet as much as I could and my husband did all the chasing around and getting of things. Thankfully, the lines were short or non-existent so this was not a concern. We were back at the hotel by 4pm and had a quiet evening.

Sunday morning we had to be up by 2:45 for the bus to pick us up around 3:15 (yes, that is AM). Of course I was up at 1:30 with nerves and concern for the alarm waking up my children. (Lesson 2 on the things I will do differently next time is not to stay in a room with my husband and children the night before. Again however, I wouldn't have changed it this time). On the bus and the nerves are really setting in now. There were so many people at the start line and it seemed so crazy that all these people were up so early! The line ups for the port potty's were not too bad but after already having thousands of people through them the day before for the 1/2 marathon - they were NASTY. Really nasty.

We got into our corral and waited and waited...I was nervous but not too bad. The start was fantastic with lots of TV screens and speakers so everyone could see and hear what was happening. The fireworks went off and off we went! When I say off we went, I mean that we started our slow crawl toward the start line and waited at least 15 minutes before we could start running.

Lesson Three in my first marathon - how to maneuver around crowds during a race. This is where more race experience would have come in handy. Thankfully, I had a very experienced team mate who helped me out with this. It was easy to get trapped in a corner or forced back to accommodate others. The first 3 or 4 miles was through Epcot and the space was a bit tight! In this race, the first few corrals started at a different location and then we all merged together at mile 4. It was really cool to look around - especially since the park was closed but there were lots of employees and of course characters to greet us!

After exiting Epcot, we began the first of three long stretches of highway. I was feeling really great and keeping up a solid 4:50 - 5 hour pace. Lots of people stopped to get pictures taken with characters but the lines were long and I was not about to give up any more time. Of course I had to pee and I managed to sneak into a men's washroom before we exited Epcot. I noticed that a lot of people (not just men) dropped their drawers wherever it seemed natural and did what they had to do! This also applied to the BioFreeze and the Vaseline (let's just say I saw my fair share of things that will stick in my head a bit too much if you know what I mean).

The stretches outside of the parks where on closed highways which were OK first thing in the AM. The temp was still cool and energy was high enough for it not to be a problem. Heading into the Magic Kingdom at Mile 10 was AWESOME! There were tons of people (even though the park wasn't open yet). I had told my family not to try and find me during the race because it would have been hard to cart around the kids but then I sort of regretted it when I saw so many people cheering on their friends and family. However, lots of people shouted out my name and people from the Joints in Motion team were great about being out on the course with a large t-shirt on a stick so they could be found. I ran through the castle - THE castle! It was fantastic. Lesson Number 4 - learn where the photographers are likely to be so that you get a great shot. I was nearly tossed into the moat (if there was one) with people trying to get their picture done by the several photographers on the other side of the castle. By the way, all the race pictures aren't available until Friday so we have to wait - that is a bummer.

We left the Magic Kingdom and got back on a highway headed to the Animal Kingdom. Again, we saw some great characters and passed lots of cool cheer teams. We headed into Animal Kingdom at around Mile 16 and at this point, I was starting to hurt. This was the first time (among many) that I started to have doubts about finishing. I was really hurting and it was getting hot and about 3 hours had nearly passed. Up to this point, I had kept myself entertained chatting with others around me and reading the many, many great shirts and signs people were wearing or holding. I was totally enjoying the creative costumes and the number of people who wore tiaras, funny hats, fairy wings.. My favourite shirt that I saw said "This is my first marathon. If you can read this, you aren't going to finish either!". I thought that was great. I saw that girl near the end and gave her nice boost for finishing! Going through the Animal Kingdom I got a bit of boost because I love it there and I saw a wedding proposal! It was really cute and there was lots of cheering for them. As we came of this park and headed out the highway again - the worst part of the entire race.

Miles 18-22 were hands down the worst part of the race. At this point, it was very hot, I was sore and exhausted. There was nothing to look at but asphalt and I was tired of reading people's shirts and signs. There were fewer spectators and I had already released my teammate from my slow pace and let her carry forward. I wanted to quit very badly and if I could have found a way to do it with some dignity I would have. Then I came across a woman who was feeling much the same way. She let me use her cell phone to call my family and then her and I ran together for next several miles. I picked up the pace as did she and we got a bit of second wind as we approached mile 22 coming in Hollywood Studios park. This was fun because we went through the centre and the parks were open and busy now. Power Rangers jumped out at us and I think this is where we saw Captain Jack Sparrow?? I can't remember now.

Outside of this park we went past a fancy resort between Mile 24 and 25. I was feeling better and now I knew I was going to finish it. At this point, a sub 5 hour was out of the question and I found myself struggling to get a sub 6 hour! I had myself a brief moment of contempt for my lost time earlier on and tried picking it up to make sure I didn't go over 6 hours. As I came into Epcot I was REALLY hurting and when I saw the sign for mile 25 and fell apart. The whole experience was catching up with me and fact that I was just over a mile away from the end had me totally overwhelmed. I kept thinking, the end of around the corner, around the corner and where is my family??? Finally I saw them just as I came up to the Mile 26 marker.


From what I understand, one of the Joints in Motion people took pictures of me when I ran up to my family to give them hugs. I was a total wreck but this point so I am sure those are really pretty. :( I am sure she will send them along and I will include them a second post called the "the Good, the Bad and Ugly". :)
It seemed like eternity before the finish line presented itself but I made it there. I even had the good sense to give a sign of victory to the cameras as I crossed over! I think the time was over 6 hours but to be very honest I am not sure. I really don't want to know and happy to keep it that way. I happily crept my way to the chip removal and the medal which I couldn't wait to get. As I made my way to the friends and family tents, I felt a huge rush but at the same time I was really having a hard time breathing. I ended up getting a few minutes of medical attention but then all was well. There were lots of teammates at the "A" (for Arthritis) and my family found their way over there and I had myself yet another meltdown. Again, I know there were several pictures of this taken by the Arthritis Society so I will be sure to post. My husband, son and daughter had cheered hard for me (and apparently lots of others!) and my Dad (and Mom) was over the moon with pride. I am told that everyone in their general area of the crowd knew our story and they were all cheering when I came around. I must admit, I barely remember this but I don't doubt it for a second.
So now I have this!
I must admit that after that race (and probably several times during) I swore this was it for me. There was no way that I would do another full marathon. However, now that a few days have passed I realize that I will do it again and this time the purpose will be different. The goal then will be for a time goal and training and prep will be much different.
Most of the pictures above were taken after the marathon. Yes, I went home after the marathon, had a shower and we headed out to the parks for the rest of the day and ALL of the next day. It was excruciating most of the time and taking stairs downhill was like knives in my thighs but I was not alone! It was like belonging to a private club as all other participants who proudly wore their medals around the park gave the compassionate nod or exchanged looks of "yes, I feel your pain". My Dad told everyone who asked about my medal how I ran my first marathon and my kids kept asking me if my legs were hurting or if I was tired. Of course I lied and said no but that was all part of it. Employees in the parks would congratulate me and park visitors would ask about how it was. I could not ask for anything more and I have learned many great lessons that I will take with me. However, I would do it all again - exactly the same way because the outcome was fantastic.
Moving on to Number 2! TI hope the others that were at Disney had a great time and I can't wait to read their posts. Thanks again to everyone for all their great comments and kind words - I am really, really lucky. :)

36 comments:

Marlene said...

Awesome report. I can relate to so many of those feelings (both physical and emotional). You finished the race and that is an accomplishment nobody can ever take away from you.

Looks like your family had a wonderful trip, as well. This is an experience none of you will soon forget.

Congrats again!

Marci said...

Yeaaahh!!I have been waiting to read your race report and it didn't dissapoint -I got a little teary-eyed in some parts reading it!!
Huge congratulations! When you are healed, lets take a run to talk about it!

Stacey said...

Yay! Your report was great...I cried, of course. I can relate to all of the emotions you felt. I have to say, I am envious of that medal!! Mickey is my favorite! Congratulations on your first marathon! What a fabulous experience for you AND your family!

Melanie said...

yep, i'm teary-eyed for you too! Amazing race report! Congratulations, you are a marathoner! It looks like your kids had a blast too! Yay!

Kim said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Wasn't it a BLAST!? we had a really good time as well. Tons of fun!!

BeachRunner said...

You are a marathoner!! Congratulations on a fantastic accomplishment. Well done. Enjoy every moment and savor these memories.

Denise said...

Wow, GREAT report! I have the chills and am so happy for you! You're a marathoner! How cool is that?!?

Nicole said...

Great report. And, congrats on being a marathoner! I'm also glad that your talk went well.

Ps your kids are super cute!

Alexandra said...

Congratulations! What an accomplishment! You showed your determination, your depth, your soul by digging deep to find the strength to finish your marathon!

I felt the emotions, that I remember so well, as I was reading your report. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

MCM Mama said...

Great job! You did it! Congrats on being a marathoner. And boy, do I remember many of the same feelings...

Legs and Wings said...

It's done. I hope your legs are coming out of their coma by now.

You showed great strength in getting across the line. I know, full well, how challenging it is to run a race and keep your family balanced at the same time.

Rest well. Smile!

RunToFinish said...

ok here it the big thing I don't understand..why does everyone have to get up so early for this race? Normally I can get up at like 5 and be good for a race, but everoyne with disney had to get up at 2:30.

the eat clean diet, man I am impressed! I'll add you to the list, we start monday!

RunnerMom said...

That was a wonderful race report. What an emotional journey running for a cause so close to your heart. I'm so glad you hung in there and that you are planning on doing another marathon. That says a lot!

Yes, your report made me cry, too. I love the "short but thorough breakdown" line. I have those from time to time myself.

Janice {Run Far} said...

congrats. I am so excited right now. I felt like I went through it all with you. You are right about the next one being different. When you train for a time it will feel better in some ways and worse in others. I have decided this is a must run marathon. I am thinking 2011... Goofy Challenge. We shall see.

The Happy Runner said...

Congratulations on completing the marathon! It looks like you had a super trip. Great job powering through!

joyRuN said...

Awesome report, great race, & fun pics!! Congrats :)

And now you're really really making me want to do Disney.

Heather said...

Congrats on finishing your first marathon! I can totally relate to those feelings of never wanting to do another one, and then a couple of days later changing your mind. It's addicting. Looks like you had a great time!

Kita said...

Wow you are amazing. I loved your report. You should be so proud. AWESOME. Thanks for sharing.

PS. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

ilovesteaks said...

Congratulations!! Excellent race report. Good job on making the commitment and finishing a marathon! That is one marathon that I'd like to do. I hope to do the Goofy's Challenge in the next year or two. Thanks for visiting my blog. I wish you well in your future training and marathoning!

aron said...

congrats congrats congrats!!!! isnt it crazy how emotional the marathon is :) amazing job and amazing report!!!

Jo Lynn said...

What a great read that was! My first visit to your blog. ;)
My daughter and I are running the Disneyland 1/2 this summer. (If we don't kill each other in the "training" process.) Your kids are super cute!

A Toronto girl out West said...

Yaaay for you! :o) I loved reading your race/vacation report!

Meg said...

Congratulations! I loved all the pictures, great report!

lindsay said...

great report and love all your photos! congrats on your first marathon and fighting off the mental demons. i know exactly how you feel about not-wanting/wanting to do another. after my first i was in pain and i told my parents "do not ever let me do another one of these again". now i'm looking forward to #7! it's hard to stay away. and hopefully it will get easier for you to as you continue to train. thanks for stopping by my blog too! congrats again on a great marathon!!

robinbb said...

Great race report and great job on your first marathon! Disney was great again as always!

D10 said...

Great race report. Glad the whole family was able to enjoy Disney. I said the same thing about never running a marathon during and right after my first. But, my mind changed on the car ride home! Well done.

Runner Leana said...

Congratulations on your first marathon! I'm so glad you enjoyed your vacation with your family. It was your first race, and marathons are tough. They are a completely different ball game from a half, but I'm so glad to hear that you want to get out there and try it again. Great job!!!

Southbay Girl said...

Great job!!!! The first marathon is always so emotional-reading your blog brought back memories of my first, I cried crossing the finish line! Congrats!!! It's such an amazing accomplishment-always remember that!!!

SuperDave said...

Very cool and I love the report! I've already signed up for next year WDW 2010 and forgive me, but I'll probably be asking lots of questions before I get there. Was it that warm that your kids were swimming in the pool?
Wow I can't wait! I can't imagine running that far! What a great accomplishment!

Sonia said...

Woohoo!!! You rock!!!!!!!! Great job on finishing the marathon be proud of what you accomplished!!! Hope you heal well.

N.D. said...

Great race report with family fun built in too! Aww, I had fun being in Disney with my sister last weekend. You did great! and now on to #2!!

Running Through Time said...

Great job on completing your first marathon. I now have a better understanding of what I will be up against when I begin my first marathon. I am glad you were able to enjoy your children and the excitement they had!

I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Melissa

RoadBunner said...

Congratulations! It looks like your kids and family had a great time, too!

Run DMT said...

Followed you from Chasing the Kenyans. I also ran the Disney marathon, the "Official Goofy Challenge" and it was my first race too.

Congratulations on finishing your first race! No small feat for anyone, especially a mom. On to #2! :-)

Viv said...

Look likes the family and you all had a lovely time. sure there was a marathon somewhere in there huh?LOL! Just Kidding congratulations and that is one super medal!

Chic Runner said...

Such cute pictures and way to finish it off! :)
Congrats on the race and successful vacation! :)