Monday, January 18, 2010

Goofy Race and a Half Challenge Race Report-Pt. 1

Some of you readers know that I can get carried away on my race reports and for 2010 I resolved that I would be more concise and I would ramble less. I don't know if I can live up to that. So, since you have been waiting a whole week for this and because now I finally have the time to get it done, here is the race report of the coldest events I have ever done.

The Thursday after the new year was the day that Buds and I would jet off to the Magic Kingdom. As with every trip that I take, I was up way too late the night before trying to pack everything that I might need. I had been looking at the weather reports and I knew that the cold weather that was on its way to Houston was also headed to Florida as well. I wanted to make sure that I was not cussing myself out that I had left extra warm clothes or my Hammer Gels at home. Speaking of those Hammer Gels I had to make my kid carry them in his quart size zipper bag because my bag was almost full. I had 14 gels to carry with me for two races.

Why is it my kid can be up and ready to go at 5:30 in the morning and waiting on me to go to the airport but he is late almost every morning to go to school? This must be normal kid behavior now that he is in Middle School. We had a 7:20 flight so that meant we had to be at the airport no later than 6:15 am. We made it in time and met up with the rest of the group and agreed to swap some seats so the kids of similar age could all sit together. The flight had the monitors in the back of the headrest of each seat. It was nice because we could pick which movie or television show we wanted. I should have picked better. FAME was lame. I'm glad I did not have to pay for my headphones.

Once we got to Orlando we had to spend some time getting our passes for the Magical Express to our resort. It would have gone faster, but we were booked as a group and there were other big groups waiting for their passes. We got checked in to the Coronado Springs Resort, had some lunch, and then hopped the shuttle to go to the Wide World of Sports Complex to go do packet pick-up.

Packet pick-up was HUGE. It was spread over two indoor stadiums. The first stadium was where we picked up our bibs and D-tags. I also had to stand in line to see if I could get moved into the appropriate start corral. My start corral was G for the half marathon and J for the marathon. Uh, NO WAY!!! I had my print out with my race times from races in the past year to verify that I did not deserve to be in the second to the last corral for the marathon. The event volunteer was nice enough to get me into corral B for both events, YES! Then it was time to head over to the second stadium to get our goodie bags and see the expo. I did buy a track jacket and a short sleeve run shirt since I got three long sleeve shirts for the races I was running. I only stopped by the Polar booth to ask the guy a technical question and then we were out of there.

Pretty good Goods in the Goodie Bags!

Back in the room I sorted through my bag and tossed the handouts I did not need and set out the important stuff. Our goodie bags were pretty good. We got disposable cameras, shoe laces with the event name on them, the shirts, kinesio tape, and some Clif goodies. Once that was taken care of Bud and I hopped the bus to Downtown Disney. We did not want to use up a park ticket to get in around 5 pm so we decided to do some shopping instead. We hit all the places that we wanted to and then met up with the rest of the group to go to an ESPN sports bar to watch the Texas vs. Alabama game. When we got there the line was out the door and there was no way were getting in so we grabbed diner someplace else and headed back to Downtown Disney. At this point, my foot was starting to hurt. It felt like a stake was being driven through the top of my right foot by my ankle. It had been fine earlier in the day but now it hurt to walk. This is not what I needed! I hobbled back though Downtown Disney and stopped at a store that has some great bath products and I purchased a few bath bombs made with Epsom salts and sea salts. We got back to the room and drew a hot bath and threw the bath bomb in and hoped that it would help my foot. Before bed I slathered on some Traumeel and sent a cry for help to my sports doc, Dr. Hasenbank, and hoped for the best.

Friday morning our group was to do a short 20-30 minute run and to see what the temps were like. My foot was really hurting. I had trouble putting weight on it. I checked my email and saw a response from Dr. H and instructions on how to try to do a self adjustment on my foot and ankle. I gave it a try and heard a big pop and felt a momentary sharp pain. Oooch! I put on my run gear and went out to test things out. It still hurt to walk but when I started running it hurt less. It was very strange. The temperatures were hovering around 40 degrees and it felt really good when I was running. When I quit running and walked back to my room my foot was hurting again. I could not understand how it hurt to walk but not to run. I got the kid up and we got ready to hit the parks. Our destination for the day way was Epcot.

Getting a short run in with Goofy before the race.

We got to Epcot just after it opened so we had a whole day to enjoy the park. We did all the things we wanted to and some of them twice. We rode Test Track at least three times and took the less barf inducing option on Mission Space. We had lunch in France and did shopping in Japan and bumped into our Houston friends Geoff and Sarah in Norway. It was one of those needle in a haystack moments. We did not plan to meet up or event text each other. Sarah and I firmed up our plans to try to meet up in the morning so that we could run together. Frankly I was concerned about my foot and that I would not be able to keep up with Sarah. I had to keep reigning in Bud so that he did not walk too fast as we made our way though the park. I got to go and see the dolphins and manatees at The Sea pavilion and then I treated Bud to a good supper at The Garden Grill in The Land pavilion. The salad is from the hydroponic gardens a the pavilion and tastes so fresh. I was served a huge plate of Grilled Flat Iron Steak with mashed golden russet potatoes, turkey with cranberries and apple and raisin stuffing, and grilled cod with mixed vegetable of carrots, brussel sprouts, and yellow squash. It was topped off with a desert of blueberry pie with vanilla whipped cream. YUM!!! After that it was back to the room and off to bed.

Bud on the Test Track
Test Track making me look like a wrinkly shar-pei dog.

The alarm clock rang at 2:45 am. That is 1:45 am Central Time Zone! I felt sorry for those people from the west coast. I checked the temps and got dressed and got Bud up. After I got all my gear and grabbed my bag with dry clothes I texted a few people to let them know I was headed to the shuttle buses. Shuttles were running from 3 to 4 am and I walked right up to a shuttle near my room at 3:30 am. We got to Epcot around 3:45 and I met up with my buddy Tim and with Sarah. We wandered into the athlete and spectator venue and found our tents to drop off our gear bags. It was an athlete only area and you walked through the tent to get to the area which would lead to the start line. I hugged Bud and we went over our plan and he set off for the monorails. If CPS knew that I let my 11 year-old roam around the WDW at 4:15 am in the morning without supervision I am sure that they would have issues with me. Oh well, he has been to Disney so many times and he knows his way around. He had a cell phone and I had mine. Everyone was out to see the race and he was doing the same. I had faith I would see him at our first meet up point.

Sarah, Tim, and I huddled in our trash bags with everyone else for a few minutes until they opened up the road to start walking toward the start line. I checked my iPhone for the temps and I saw 37 degrees but it sure felt colder than that. There had been a forecast of rain and we were hoping it would wait until after the race. We started our long walk out the back of Epcot and out towards the start. We stopped at the bank of Port-o-cans and were happy that they were fresh and clean and that they were warm on the inside. The wind was really picking up and making thing cold. Sarah and I headed to corral B and Tim headed off to corral A. As we were huddling in with more people entering the corral we started to feel and hear rain hitting our trash bags, but the bags had no rain drops on them. It was ice. It was beginning to sleet! It started to come down heavier and it was swirling and blowing around in the light of the street lamps. I felt so sorry for these people standing around in shorts and who did not have a trash bag. When the race started it was really sleeting and snowing hard. The sleet hurt as it hit our cheeks and I vowed to keep my trash bag on as long as I could stand it.

Our race start was at 5:40 am. As we ran past all the fireworks and start line hoopla we ventured out into the dark with 24,000 of our other running friends. Sarah and I kept a good, comfortable pace and we let people pass us if they wanted to move on up. I decided to let the trash bag go around mile 2 and a half. I had a moment of regret when I tossed it to the side and the cold air hit my sweaty body but I had to keep moving. We passed a poor group of high school band members and cheer leaders that were bundled up. I hoped the horn players lips would not freeze to their instruments. It was so windy that a cool Epcot hot air balloon was having trouble staying up. We got close to the Ticket and Transportation area and I started to keep my eyes open for Bud. Sarah and I dodged into a bathroom and took a little time to warm our hands under the hand dryer and headed out again. Bud saw me and shouted out from the crowds as he was ringing his cow bells. I gave him a quick hug and we were on our way again towards the Contemporary Resort. When we hit Mainstreet USA in the Magic Kingdom, it was still dark out but all the lights were on and the park was crowded with spectators. I decided that if I saw characters I was only stopping if it was Mickey or Goofy. We ran around Tomorrow Land and through Cinderella's Castle. There were plenty of characters out but I did not want to stop and get cold. After running through Frontier Land we ran out the back of the Magic Kingdom and I noted where the Pirates of the Caribbean were so I could stop the next day for a picture.

You can see little bits of sleet in the picture if you look close.

We ran in the dark from the Magic Kingdom past the Grand Floridian Resort and we spotted Goofy. Sarah and I had to stop for pictures and then we were off again. It was still sleeting and I could feel it on my face. I could also detect rain as well. It started to get a little light out around mile 10 but it was still dark out. Around mile 11 I was glad I only had two miles left. We ran in through the side of the front entrance of Epcot by Spaceship Earth and down to the huge Christmas tree at the entrance to the World Showcase and then turned around to run out the front of the park to the finish line. The weather was still poor so I just focused on finding one of those foil blankets rather than my finish time. After gather medals, checking in at the Goofy tent, and getting some food Sarah and I parted ways to grab our gear bags. I was glad to have had someone to run with and I was glad that I was able to keep a good pace with Sarah. She is fast and I would have a hard time keeping up with her the next day.

There was a breakdown in effectiveness in the F-J gear bag tent. There were 50 or 60 runners stuffed in the tent about 5 rows deep with many more waiting outside and the bags were not being found fast enough. The race numbers were 5-digit numbers and the volunteers did not have notepads to jot down numbers. Runners had to finally pull off their bibs and hand them over to the volunteers to help them find the gear bags. It took close to 30 minutes to get my bag and by the time I got my dry clothes I was shivering uncontrollably and my fingernails were purple. I found the Team in Training tent and checked in there and then started to strip off my wet clothes and get into my dry clothes. I did my best to keep my foil blanket around me when I was stripping off my bra top and my compression shorts but once I got undies on everyone in the tent (women and men) got a look at the goods. I did not care, I was getting into dry, warm clothes.

I found Buds right outside waiting under an awning to stay out of the rain and sleet. We made a bee-line to the buses to head back to Coronado Springs with a small detour to get our pictures with Pluto. It was time to get an ice bath in and get some hot coffee in me before we hit Animal Kingdom.
Running with the big dogs!
Tomorrow I will recap the marathon.

Have a great day,



Grant A said...

Wonder why I didn't see you there?

TRI TO BE FUNNY-Carrie Barrett said...

You are definitely GOOFY!!! Hope to train and hang again this springtime--although I can do without 4 hour spin sessions at Lost Pines :-)

Rainmaker said...

Every year I see folks doing this race...pushing through the holidays, keep on of these years, me and Goofy are going to have at it...

I like the as-always-required laying out of the goods on the hotel bed. A runners tradition.

Spokane Al said...

That cold Fl weather was amazing.

Congratulations on a terrific race.

Your report was excellent and I am looking forward to part 2.

Benson said...

Nice race.
I haven't stopped in for awhile.
Love that header photo or you and IMCOZ.
You're living the life.

Anonymous said...
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Regina said...

Thank you for the lovely card!! I am so glad I was able to contribute to a great cause. I'll be racing for TNT this summer in the NYC Tri.

You did amazing! Congrats!!!