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Fall 2012 Races

28 Aug

Since I’m just getting back into being a fully functioning, two-legged runner, I’m weary of committing myself to too many races this fall. I might sprinkle some more 5ks into the mix for fun, but here are my planned runs for the fall:

Miracle Miles 15k – September 22, 2012

I ran this race last year just after returning from a two-week stay in NYC. It was a brutally hot race (especially after running in cool NYC) and I made the mistake of not carrying a water bottle. I remember being so parched in between the water stations that I considered veering off course to get some water at my house. This year I’ll make sure to carry water and hydrate the days leading up to the race.

NOTE AFTER POST: I did not end up running the Miracle Miles 15k. For details read here.

Turkey Trot 5k – November 22, 2012

The Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in 2007 was my first 5k ever. Donnie had convinced me that it would be a great way to start the holiday weekend. His pops and him had been running the race for several years as part of their holiday tradition. I finally agreed and am so glad I did… it really is a wonderful start to a day filled with food, friends and family! This year will be my fifth year running it in a row, and I hope to make pumpkin pancakes afterwards, like I did last year. I’m trying to convince my mom and my Sis to join in the fun. Wish me luck!

Orlando Half Marathon – December 1, 2012 

Last year I ran this race with a friend and had an absolute blast. I’m going to push myself a little harder this year, but look forward to running around the city without the road traffic. 🙂

I’m hoping for a healthy, happy racing season and will definitely continue to do yoga along with my training to help avoid injury.

What races do you have planned for the fall?

Race Signs

10 May

One of my favorite parts of running any race are the signs along the way. I don’t know what it is, but as a runner, words written on a piece of poster board can be so helpful when you need it the most. They either make you laugh or shout absurdity’s to its holder, or if you’re just plain delirious and tired you might cry. For just a moment in time, they distract you from the task at hand (running many miles) and focus your attention elsewhere.

A few years ago, the OUC Half Marathon course took runners right by the end of our street. My friend was running it, so we made sure to make a poster. I like to do one side of the poster name specific for friends, and the other side just plan ridiculous for the rest of the runners.

It was a cold morning, and my friend Tim (a.k.a. “Coach”), my boyfriend Donnie and I wore many layers and drank coffee to stay warm as we waiting for our friend SB to run by. I also made this poster, which generated a lot of feedback:

Donnie (holding the sign), Tim and the pugs

The reaction from the freezing, scantily-clad runners was hilarious and this is one of my favorite race posters that I’ve made to date.

Imagine my excitement when Jill from JoggingJeans.com branched out to a new hilarious blog: Best Race Signs. I know I would be referencing it the next time I was spectating and needed to make another sign! This post is for her. 🙂

There were tons and tons of great signs at the Flying Pig Marathon. I got pictures of my favorites when possible.

(I almost hurt myself getting this first one)

I think this one was my favorite.

I’m always a sucker for a little potty humor.

Around mile 15 or so…

A special shout out to the sign that read “I’ll be your support” and had a drawing of a bra and a jockstrap on it. I was too busy distracted by beer to get a photo.

Which race signs have been your favorite?

Race Recap: 2012 Flying Pig Marathon – Part 2

8 May

(Continued from Part 1)

Our pig pen finally started to move towards the start line and soon after we were of running the 2012 Flying Pig Marathon.

I have to say, what a gorgeous start:

Running towards stadium

The crowds at the start were exciting, and I decided not to listen to my iPod Shuffle and instead enjoy their cheering. In fact, the ear buds for my iPod would never make their way out of my fuel belt.

I was just starting to get in a groove and wanted to enjoy whatever good time I had on my right leg before my IT band started to lock up when I heard someone behind me yell “Hey little piggy!” I turned around and saw that it was Molly. We took this blurry pic:

Early in the race with Molly

We ran together for maybe a quarter mile before she took off as we crossed the Taylor-Southgate Bridge into Kentucky. I walked up the incline (I was planning on walking all inclines during the course).

Molly had reassured me that Wendy and Emily were behind me, so I looked forward to them passing me.

Running through the Kentucky portion of the race was fun. The crowds were out and I enjoyed running through Covington, the neighborhood we were staying in.

By the way, I totally loved the iFitness iPhone belt add-on I picked up at the Expo the day before. For the Disney Marathon they had run out, and I’ve been looking to pick one up since. It made getting my phone in and out to take these photos while running super easy!

Just as I we were about to cross back the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge back into Cincinnati, I met a gentlemen who was running his very first half marathon and loving every minute of it. We were almost three miles into the race and chatted a bit before I wished him luck as we started to go over the bridge since I was walking up inclines. Chatting with fellow runners is definitely one of the pros of not listening to music. 🙂

And back to Ohio we went:

A train was on the bridge with us and honked at us runners:

I started to follow the pig:

The sun started rising and I was so thankful I bought some cheapy Ray-Ban wannabe sunglasses at Target the week before the race. I figured I could toss them if they started to bother me. We were running east and the sun was blinding:

I was feeling the heat already and was glad I remembered to apply sunscreen before we left the house.

Around mile six, I was handed this tasty treat:

These were being handed out just before a water stop, but I don’t think they were provided by the course. I didn’t care… It was the most delicious thing I had ever had. It was a hot, muggy morning, with highs expected in the mid 80’s.

Around this time I could feel my IT band already tightening up. By the time Wendy and Emily passed me without recognizing me around mile 8, I was having trouble bending my knee. I called out their names and they turned around surprised. We would run together for the next six miles or so.

Around this time you start to run an never-ending incline, which we conquered through various methods:

  • Run 5 minutes / walk 1 minute intervals
  • Run to the next lamp post / walk to the next lamp post
  • Run until one of us cried mercy and then walk (and by “one of us” I meant me)

This is when my right leg said “I’m not going to bend anymore.” Well, I showed my stubborn IT band who’s the boss: I figured out that if I swung my leg around when I ran (think pirate on a wooden leg) that it wouldn’t hurt. Sure, I looked like a special case but at least I was covering the distance.

Up, up we went with Emily looking for the nuns she had heard about, Wendy running through every sprinkler possible, and me just hobbling along. It was hilarious because Emily and Wendy were usually a few steps in front of me and the crowd would just do the usual clap and yell for them. But when they noticed me, they would yell words of encouragement and clap harder. I know what they were thinking: “Oh boy, this poor girl has to run quite a few more miles on that wooden leg of hers.”

Here are me and Wendy cheesin’ our way up to the top of that nasty mile 8 hill:

This was one of our views:

How gorgeous is that??

And we found a local to snap a photo:

Around mile nine is the half marathon turn-off. The girls asked what I was going to do. I finally told them I was going to do the full marathon, but only under the condition that they would leave me. I knew there would be a point I could no longer run, and didn’t want to hold them back.

As my pain increased, we stopped at an aid station to see if they had Biofreeze or aspirin. No such luck, all they had was Vaseline. What kind of aid station is that?

However, if you’re running a marathon and say the word “pain medicine” loud enough several times, you’re bound to have a kind runner overhear you and offer up some of their own. I was this fortunate when we met the loveliest lady. I declared my love for her as she gave me two Advil, but sadly I cannot remember her name, other than it started with the letter ‘R.’ But I will remember her fondly.

We made it to the half marathon mark and did mini-celebrations. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I could be finished for too long. Thankfully around mile 14 we came across what felt like a street party and were offered some beer. Since I’d already disobeyed common sense rules like “don’t take drugs from a stranger” I thought… “why not.”

That beer was hands down the coldest drink I had during the entire race course. I relished it. So did Emily and Wendy.

God is good and so is beer. (Not pictured: Emily… she thought if she wasn’t photographed then it didn’t happen. Until I blog about it, of course.)

That orange headband around my left arm is what I used to cool myself off. At every water stop I would dump water on it, then wipe myself down with the headband. It’s easier than carrying a rag and definitely helped to keep my temperature down.

Wendy and Emily kept asking me if this was still the best day ever and I kept answering with a “yup.” No one ever said the best day ever was going to be easy.

Shortly after that picture was taken I finally decided I could no longer hobble run, chasing after the ladies. After the next running interval started, I continued to walk. I think they knew it was time and off they went. I would be on my own for the next 12 miles… or so I thought.

I was about to put my earbuds in, but was distracted by this guy:

Apparently he had juggled his way through the 10k the previous day and was now on day two of run juggling. I was mesmerized. I even started to run again so I could stay near him longer.

Around the mile 16 turnaround point I did three things:

  • Allowed myself to entertain the thought that I might not finish this race
  • Scored some ice from a family (I may or may not have told the little boy that handed me the ice that I love him. Yeah… totally inappropriate… ha ha ha ha… )
  • Waited until I got out of said family’s view before I dropped that ice down my sports bra for instant cooling and much happiness

Once again I was about to put on my headphones when I heard someone asking me if I was okay. “Oh yeah, just can’t bend my leg. No bid deal, just running a marathon,” I responded. It’s the same response I had given at least ten people already. However, this runner had some items of much value: IcyHot (yes, he was carrying an entire tube in his pocket) and Advil.

He offered me the Advil and IcyHot and I didn’t even hesitate in answering with a big ol’ “YES!” Since I had already taken drugs and alcohol from other perfect strangers, I thought why stop there? When he handed me the Advil, he pointed out that it said ‘Advil’ on it, so I didn’t think he was trying to drug me. I reassured him that even if he was slipping me some Ecstasy, I think I’d be okay with it. Yup, that’s how much pain I was in… I was willing to finish out the rest of the marathon in a drug-induced trance-like state. Lucky for me, it really was just Advil.

The runner ended up being a local named Will and he was running to help raise money for LAM research. His friend suffers from LAM (short for “lymphangioleiomyomatosis“) and Will figured if his friend could survive with LAM, then he could endure the pain of running a marathon without training. This made him okay in my book. He even wore the cotton shirt she asked him to wear. Also, his bib read “SHOOT ME NOW.”

The final 10 miles of the marathon consist of highway hill running and running through not the nicest of neighborhoods. This reminded me of the long stretch during Disney where you run on the highway and I started to resent it.

By this point the sun was beating down on us and there was no shade. And at every water stop, the water and Gatorade got hotter and hotter, until it was undrinkable. Oh, and the water stops were running out of water. At one water stop I spit the water out because it tasted like garden hose water, probably because it was garden hose water. (I saw the volunteers refilling pitchers with a hose.)

Here’s a pic of me at mile 22. I was holding a styrofoam cup full of ice that we had scored. I may or may not have professed my love for the stranger that handed me said cup full of ice.

In the photo above, you’ll see that the road has some pretty fresh tar. I’m not sure if they patched up the road for the race, but it was so hot that the tar was sticking to my shoes. I had to make a concerted effort not to step on it.

Around mile 24 I saw a church with a sign that said “restrooms” outside and made a dash for it. Making it up the stairs to the entrance was a little tricky though, but the promise of an air-conditioned restroom helped guide me.

The final two miles of the marathon were horrible. It was all highway, and by this point the sun was torturing me. It was relentless. And the water and Gatorade got so hot at every stop that I couldn’t drink it. All I could think about was ice-cold water. And being able to sit down.

I started to wobble run when the finish line was in an attainable distance. I crossed the “finish swine” in 7:03:10, hobbling every step of the way. My average pace was 16:10/mile. My right leg was throbbing. My throat was parched. My feet were swollen. I had joined the ever-elusive 7-hour marathon club. But I didn’t give up.

Rox and Rachelle were just about some of the last few spectators remaining. Thank God for friends!

I thanked Will for the company and headed off in search of iced-cold water. I would not find ice-cold water, but I was , however, greeted with a beer by Erin. I declared my love for her too.

Me, putting the pig in a choke hold.

Making nice with the pig

Did I mention we had piggy tails? Because we totally did.

Balancing on my bad leg while holding my beloved beer, and the ice bag that Erin was able to get from a vendor. No beer was spilled in the taking of this photo.

Some final thoughts:

PROS

  • I’ve never been to Cincinnati and had a great time exploring a new city.
  • The crowds were amazing. The people were lovely.
  • It was a scenic course that took you through the city, over bridges, along the water and into the hills. Oh my!
  • The medal is great. The shirt was great. The duffle bag was great. (Yes, we got all 3!)
  • I love the pigs. Everywhere.
CONS
  • Ohio weather in May is tricky. Last year it rained. This year it was hot. I would suggest race organizers talk to race organizers from Florida for tips on how to keep runners cool: more ice, sponges, etc.
  • Hills. Train for them or they will eat you up alive.
  • Aid Stations didn’t have pain meds or Biofreeze. I thought this was a race staple! Bring your own.
  • Don’t take 7 hours to run your marathon. If you do, all of the volunteers at the end will have packed up, and you’ll get nice warm water.

Final verdict: I would like to run the Flying Pig Marathon again one day, but with two good legs. However, I would much rather just run the half marathon, and skip the awful highway portion that makes up the back half.

Thanks to everyone for your well wishes and support! A big shout out to the six wonderfully crazy ladies I travelled with and also the ones that couldn’t make the trip, but still sent their love.

Have you run the Flying Pig Marathon? Tell me about your experience or link to your own recap in the comments!

One last time… Weeweeweeeeeeee!

Race Recap: 2012 Flying Pig Marathon – Part 1

7 May

On Sunday morning shortly after I woke up at 4:15 AM, I said “this is going to be the best day ever.” I was, of course, being highly optimistic. It was the morning of the 2012 Flying Pig Marathon.

After over a month of having issues with my right IT band (I blogged about it here and here and here and here) I knew what I was potentially walking into. But because of how fabulously stubborn I am, I decided I would still participate in the Flying Pig Marathon, even if I had to walk it. Or crawl it.

Let me start at the beginning: I run with some really fun and amazing ladies. Earlier this year, a group of us decided to run the Flying Pig Marathon and Half in Cincinnati, OH. I was just coming out of my first marathon, and determined to get right back on that horse.

Amazingly enough, I don’t have a single photo of all seven of us together. But with a few pics from this weekend, I got us covered:

Left to Right: Molly, me, Rachelle, Emily and Erin

Rox

Me and Wendy

Emily, being the traveling pro that is is, found us a great brownstone rental in Covington, KY. Covington is conveniently located just across the Ohio River from downtown Cincinnati and the house was just a tiny bit over a mile away from both the expo and the start line. And it was super cute with a rooftop deck (not that I could access said rooftop deck after the marathon):

Our view of Cincinnati

Sunday morning I woke up around 4:30 AM. I ate half of a bagel with peanut butter, drank some black coffee, used the restroom and got dressed. The night before I had laid out all of my stuff:

This included:

  • Running tank
  • Sports bra
  • Running tights
  • Running shoes
  • Socks
  • Bib number (filled out with emergency info)
  • My borrowed Garmin
  • Fuel belt (equipped with $20 bill)
  • Fuel – Vanilla Stinger Waffles and Clif Shot Bloks
  • Head band turned into my wrist band
  • (not pictured) Cheap $15 sunglasses from Target

The rest of our group left the house around 5:40, while Rox and I ran fashionably late. This is not new for us. We’ve run several races together, and I’d say we’ve been running up to the start as the gun goes off for about half of those.

We left the house around 5:50 AM. We were just about to start crossing the bridge into Cincinnati when Rox looked down at my knees and asked where my IT band straps were. An expletive flew out of my mouth. I had forgotten to set those out, therefore forgetting to put them on.

We turned around to get them. Ten minutes and two IT straps later, we were crossing the bridge, where we got this lovely view of the super moon while we ate our bananas:

We followed the crowds towards the stadium and started to feel the energy created by thousands of runners ready to run their hearts out.

The corrals, or pig pens, at the start.

Especially this guy:

Praying or Tebowing?

Sure, it looks like Rox was doing the same, but she was just tying her shoes:

Here we are looking fairly relaxed for two girls that were running super late:

We stretched during the intro then Rox and I wished each other luck and split up to join our separate corrals pig pens. I tried to find the rest of the ladies, but had no such luck. I set my watch, stopped to say a prayer for strength and waited for my coral to start the race.

To be continued …

Shut Down

25 Apr

I spent all day checking my email, my credit card account and the ING New York City Marathon registration page to see if I would be training through a hot, sweltering summer for the ING New York City Marathon this year.

Sadly, I finally got this message:

Shut down for the 2012 New York City Marathon

Well darn. This is like the time I didn’t make the cheerleading squad, without the awful cartwheels.

Since the Flying Pig Marathon is but  days away (11 to be exact), I’m going to wait to decide on my next race until then, but I see lots of half marathons in my future. These poor legs of mine need a rest.

Have you ever put your name in for the New York City Marathon lottery and if so, did you get selected?

On a side note, the marathon lottery tweets that said “May the odds be ever in your favor” had me chuckling today.

Spectator Recap: 2012 IOA Corporate 5k

14 Apr

I did not run the Corporate 5k this year (I’ve run it 2 or 3 times in the past), but I did have a race of my own on Thursday: trying to get to my spot of the course in time to see my friends pass by.

I failed. Well sort of. I did catch one of my running group mates, Beth. And the only reason I think I caught her is because she ran earlier that day, so she was walking. But I missed everyone else. I was much later than expected getting out of work and running an errand.

The race started at 7:15. I met Donnie around 7:40 on a grassy knoll on Livingston, where he had been sitting watching the runners with the unruly pugs.

My boys

Rex wishing he could run that fast.

Tank wishing we would let him loose to run.

I quickly made myself comfortable next to them and started scanning the runners for familiar faces.

Well, after a photo op of course.

The route of this local race takes runners just a couple of blocks away from my house, so it’s super easy access for me.

I couldn’t run last year (2011) either, and loved walking out to this spot to catch my friends run by:

Roxy, running so fast she's a blur.

T and Jesse #winning

Back to this year… I was like a pig in mud when I captured this moment:

Sometimes you just gotta stretch... while running a 5k in your jeans.

And this one:

Warning: Jogging in jorts may cause chafing.

I am a huge fan of JoggingJeans.com (if you haven’t visited for a good chuckle, check it out ASAP), but it seems ever since I started reading the blog, I been unable to actually capture a runner in jeans with my camera… until Thursday, that is! Best. Day. Ever.

We left shortly after and headed off in search for dinner.

So while I didn’t run this year, I can share my pros and cons of the race from my previous runs:

PROS

  • Local Orlando 5k
  • This is a Track Shack Event. They always put on great races!
  • Great race to get non-runners involved: co-workers, family, friends, etc.
  • You can ask your company to sponsor you and your co-workers… FREE for you. 🙂
  • Great downtown Orlando course that starts and ends at Lake Eola
  • Seeing some of your co-workers in spandex

CONS

  • Seeing some of your co-workers in spandex
  • Super crowded (don’t expect a personal best)
  • I don’t remember there being medals
  • The line for your free beer is long

Hopefully I will be able to rejoin the fun next year. This is always a fun race that ends with a free beer at the end. Who needs a medal when you have beer?

Have you run the IOA Corporate 5k? What are your thoughts?

It’s Official

31 Jan

I’m all signed up for the Flying Pig Marathon! I missed my run this morning, so signing up for a marathon totally makes up for it, right?

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

Race Recap: 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon (Part 2)

12 Jan

… Continued from Part 1

I crossed the start line at 6:01 AM. Beside me was Roxy, who was faster than me and I would soon say goodbye to. Behind me were my Marathonfest group leaders, Emily and Sue, and fellow group member and first time marathoner, Christina. Or at least I thought they were behind me. A few minutes later I turned around and they were gone in the masses. It would be 20 miles before I saw Christina again.

I found myself alone, yet surrounded by runners. I popped in my ear buds and settled in for the long haul… one foot in front of the other for the next five plus hours.

The start of the race had us running down Epcot Center Drive and looping back around to the front of Epcot. I knew Donnie and my mom would be right in front of the entrance on the left-hand side. As I approached the crowds I started trying to focus on the many faces. My night vision is horrible and I was scared that I would somehow miss them.

I found them just before the entrance and started waving. They later teased me for not stopping for a photo op, but I knew I would see them around mile 9 again and figured I would stop then. My original intent had been to stop and take off my arm sleeves before Epcot, but it was still cold out. I kept running.

When I entered the park, the infamous Epcot ball hovered before me, glowing in the night.  I instantly felt like a kid again, amazed by its presence.

We ran partially around the World Showcase Lagoon and I thought about all of the wonderful food I had tried there recently during the International Food & Wine Festival. My pre-race breakfast of an english muffin with peanut butter seemed like ages ago and I was already hungry.

We exited Epcot through a back exit. Next up was the Magic Kingdom, but it would be several miles on property highways before we reached it.

I kept myself entertained myself by taking inventory of all of the people running in costume around me. There were Tinkerbells and Peter Pans and Minnie Mouses and Snow Whites galore! My favorites were all the men running dressed up as Tinkerbell, even wearing tights. Sometimes I would just stare at a costumed runner in front of me and think to myself, “That just can’t be comfortable.” I’m glad they didn’t turn around to see me staring at them with a puzzled, yet amused look on my face.

Towards the end of the run to Magic Kingdom, the sun had come up and I rolled my arm sleeves down. As we approached crowds I started to look for Donnie and my mom. I was so happy to see them that I asked for not one, but two kisses from Donnie. I thought he was taking a picture of me, but it turns out he was video taping me:

I love how you can hear my mom yelling my name at the very beginning of the clip. And Donnie cracked me up. Ha!

As we entered the Magic Kingdom I got really excited. As a kid growing up in Orlando, we used to visit Disney at least once or twice a year. But it had been more than 10 years from my last visit, and I was looking forward to running (literally) down memory lane.

When you enter the Magic Kingdom, you run down Main Street towards the Cinderella Castle, but veer through Tomorrowland first.

I found a volunteer and asked them to snap this shot of me in front of the castle:

My next stop was a bathroom in Tomorrowland. I have to say that one of the pros of running Disney is that it’s possible to never have to use a port-o-potty. At each of the four parks you visit you have access to their clean restrooms.

Running through the Cinderella Castle I couldn’t help but think how small it looked. When I was a little girl the castle always seemed so BIG! Either it got smaller or I got bigger. Regardless, it was still pretty magical.

Next up would be Disney’s Animal Kingdom, approximately four miles away. But first, we got to run through their compost facilities. I can pretty much cover that with one word: Ew.

As we entered Disney’s Animal Kingdom through a back entrance, they had a bunch of animal handlers lined up with different animals. I saw a goat, the cutest owl I’ve ever seen, rabbits and some other animals. A lot of people were petting them, but the last thing I wanted wanted were dirty animal hands. I kept running. And I kept my eyes peeled on the ground ahead of me. I could smell the poop and didn’t want to step in it.

I’ve never been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, so I was trying to take it all in. Funny how I never noticed the giant mountain behind me:

Here I am monkeying around:

Shortly after that picture, something horrible happened: my iPod Shuffle’s battery died. I panicked. What was I going to do without my most amazing playlist to get me through the final miles? Around this time I started to notice how hot it was getting. Were there really no clouds in the sky?

Lucky for me, they were handing out cold sponges at one of the next water stops (mile 17.5). Hooray for small miracles! That little fifty cent sponge could’ve been gold to me at that point. I had remembered Donnie telling me that he had kept his during the ING Miami Marathon and had wet it during every water stop so rather than toss mine like everyone else was doing, I kept it. I was so glad I did!

Here’s a pic of me and my golden sponge:

Around mile 18, my IT band in my left knee started to hurt. I pulled the wrap I had tighter and grabbed some extra-strength Tylenol at the next first aid station. It helped enough to keep me moving.

The run to Disney’s Hollywood Studios was more highway, which means we were out in the open with no protection from the sun. I really missed my music. And the sunglasses and hat that I always said I was going to buy but never actually did.

This is a good time to mention that I trained with run/walk intervals. I run five minutes, walk one minute, run five, walk one and so on and so forth. I did this on race day as well. Up until around mile 18 starting back up on the run after walking hadn’t been so bad. But slowly that was changing.

I think I had just taken one of the atomic energy bites that Emily had given me from her final stash when I heard my name. I looked back and saw Christina. I was so happy to see her. I think I screamed when I saw her. In my head at least. I may have been too tired at this point to actually make any noise.

She looked and sounded great. Her energy level was up and she was keeping a good pace. I, on the other hand, was having trouble bending my knee and the sun was killing me. I had hit the proverbial wall and she looked like she had just climbed it and kicked its ass.

We caught each other up on our race so far. She had lost Sue and Emily and had been running the last 10 miles by herself. She felt good and was stopping to get pictures and had caught up to me. I grunted something about my dead iPod.

Mile 20 and 21 are a bit of an out and back so I got to see some friends that were ahead of me. I was surprised that we weren’t far behind one particular group of friends. I later found out that they had stopped to ride a ride in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Ha!

At one point I felt bad flaunting my nice cool sponge in front of Christina so I tore mine in half and shared it with her. I think she loved it almost as much as I did.

I got excited when we hit mile 23 because I knew some fellow Marathonfesters would be manning the candy table. I spotted two of my group members immediately and they dumped lots of chocolate in my hands and pushed me on my way. It was a nice little boost for our final 5k.

Between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and back through Epcot we ran on the boardwalk that runs along Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resort. I struggled here the most. Let’s just say that the walk breaks came more frequently at this point and every time I started back up to run I sounded like a sailor. I also started to get angry at people that were yelling “You’re almost there!” Sure, three miles might be a short run if you just started, but after running for 23 miles, it seems like forever away.

At the end of the boardwalk we came across the local Lululemon girls that had come out to cheer on the runners. Andrea from Run, Eat, Date, Sleep was there and blogged about their cheering here. Their energy was great and their signs made me smile. And I was amazed that the educator that had helped me pick out my race day clothes a week earlier remembered my name. Now that’s outstanding service!

As Christina and I entered back into Epcot, I almost cried when I saw that we had to run around most of World Showcase Lagoon again. Wasn’t there a monorail we could take to the end? And why were all of these people smiling? Didn’t they know how much pain I was in??

As we neared the Epcot ball for the second time that day, I willed myself to keep moving. I only had to run for a couple more minutes and this would all be done. We could hear the crowd up ahead and suddenly I was overwhelmed with emotion. I remember trying to thank Christina for sticking with me, but only managed to get out about half of it.

As we rounded the last corner and saw the finish line, my body suddenly got lighter. I heard my mom yelling and I saw Donnie jumping up and down and hollering my name. And seconds later I finished my first marathon.

I honestly still can’t believe I did it. Years ago I stood on the sidelines of the New York City Marathon and said that I could never run a marathon. Well… never say never.

PROS:

  • Disney is the happiest place on earth
  • You get to run through all of the theme parks
  • Local race for Central Florida residents
  • Access theme park restrooms during the race
  • Take photos with Disney characters along the way
  • A lot of people dressed up, which makes for fun atmosphere
  • Best start of a race
  • Spectators can take monorail to different cheer points

CONS:

  • Costly Race ($160)
  • A lot of long highway stretches with limited accessibility for spectators
  • Limited shade / coverage from the sun
  • Running by compost/trash facility (ew)

Here are some pictures from after the race:

Christina and I - Our first marathon!

Roxy, me and Christina

Donnie and I

My #1 Supporter

My Mami and Me

Ice, ice baby

Bling

Race Recap: 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon (Part 1)

11 Jan

On Sunday, I did something that up until last year I thought I could never do: I ran my first full marathon! And while these were some of the hardest miles I’ve run to date, they were also the most rewarding. But let’s start at the beginning.

I chose the Walt Disney World Marathon because I live in Orlando and it’s a local race, but also a big race. Although many runners I talked to suggested staying on Disney property for less stress on race day morning, I was trying to minimize costs and decided to make the commute instead.

Along for the adventure was one of my best friends, Roxy. Roxy’s fast. And when she runs it’s beautiful and graceful. I don’t hold this against her though. It just means she’s always at the finish line waiting for me at the end.

Rox and I left my house downtown at 3 AM. We made good time and were on Disney property by 3:40 AM and parked in the Epcot parking lot by 3:50. Since we were meeting my running group at 4 AM this gave us 10 minutes to get our stuff sorted and write our names on our arms:

Since my name is a little hard to pronounce if you’ve never seen it (it’s pronounced “Hey-marie”), writing “Go Hey” on my arms gets people to yell just that. And usually my closest friends call me that, so every time a stranger yells it it makes me smile. I added mouse ears on Roxy’s arm. Perfect!

The rest of my supplies were:

  • Arm warmers
  • My iPod Shuffle loaded with the most awesome playlist ever
  • Running belt (I use the iFitness neoprene double pouch belt and love it!)
  • iPhone (I wanted to take more pictures, but ended up having to focus on running)
  • Chocolate #9 Agave Gel (I didn’t want to try new gels on race day)
  • Clif Shot Bloks

When I got out of the car I didn’t think it was that cold (it was in the 50’s) so I left my throwaway towel in the car. This ended up being a mistake because it got cooler as we walked out to the corrals. Lucky for me, Roxy shares and she had a nice warm blanket.

At 4 AM we met our group in front of the information tent in the start zone.

Christina, me, Molly, Emily and Roxy

Around 4:40 AM we set off on our walk to the start corrals. Take thousands of runners and have them walk approximately 20 minutes on a path. Have fun not losing part of your group several times (as we did).

The walk from the start zone to the corrals

Roxy sharing her blanket with me during our walk

There were port-o-potties set up along the entire walk. The ones smack in the middle of the walk seemed to have the shortest lines. However, this caught my eye:

Some runners just can't wait

Behind the port-o-potties were runners lined up peeing in the woods, and they weren’t always boys. Girls did it too. I suppose some people just don’t wait in lines, no matter how short they might be.

By the time we got to the start corrals, it was pretty close to the race start. We stretched near corral G then joined in the excitement. All around us people were laying down or sitting and I just remember thinking that if I did either of those I might fall back asleep.

In corral G (clockwise starting at the top): Sue (group leader), Christina, Roxy, me and Emily (group leader)

A view in corral G towards the start line

The bright light was where the giant screen was. Though I liked to think it was an angel watching over us.

Our National Anthem was sung by the Beast from Beauty and the Beast! Okay, that’s not true. But the male singer’s voice soared through the sky and surrounded us in its beauty. It was incredible. And in my head, it was totally the Beast singing. 🙂

Corrals were released in waves, with Mickey Mouse counting down each wave. With every wave there were fireworks, which I failed miserably at capturing on my iPhone. However, this was hands down the most exciting start line I’ve been witness to.

After about thirty minutes of shuffling, we finally reached the start line. I crossed the start line at 6:01 AM.

To be continued

I Finished the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon!

9 Jan

In front of the Cinderella Castle around 10 miles in to the marathon

Yesterday I finished the 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon in 5:56:56.

It was amazing.

It was painful.

At times, it was awful.

But, it was all totally worth it.

Thank you for the support along the way!

(Stay tuned for a race recap coming soon.)