After spending a freezing cold day at Disney Animal Kingdom on Saturday, the kid and I headed back to Coronado Springs to have diner with my sister-in-law who was also staying at Coronado Springs for a pediatric physical therapy conference. After diner I was back at the room getting my stuff ready for the marathon. The kid and I had no trouble falling asleep.
We were up at 2:45 am again and out the door on the shuttle bus at 3:30 am to head to Epcot. I sent a text to my friend Sarah to meet up and she said that she was going to run slower because her leg was bothering her and that I should go ahead. I hoped that she was going to do alright and somewhat sad that I would be running by myself. The kid and I parted ways around 4:15 am as I headed in to drop off my gear bag and he headed off to the monorail. It was so much colder this morning than it was the morning before. As everyone was huddled together waiting to walk to the starting corals I thought that everyone resembled a huge Emperor Penguin colony in their trash bags.
I did not want to leave the port-o-can that I stopped in because it was warmer inside because it blocked the wind. The wind was pretty brisk. As I stood in the coral and waited for the start I took note that very few people were dressed as Disney characters compared to the day before. Popular additions to the running gear were big Mickey Mouse 4-finger gloves and big furry hats that looked like Chip and Dale. I think people were just buying them and wearing them for the warmth. After the national anthem the girl next to me started stripping off her long sleeve shirt and said, "Oooo, I'm going to regret this!" Hon, if you are going to regret tossing away your long sleeve shirt, THEN WHY ARE YOU DOING IT??!!?? I asked her that question and she said she was going to get too hot. Hey, it's 25 degrees! You are not going to get THAT hot!!! So off she went in her racer back tank top. I wonder if she chaffed her nipples.
Once we got going my plan was to block out everyone else and just run my pace. I stayed to the right side of the road and let everyone surge past me. It was fun to see all the spectators along the road on the way to Epcot. There were several waves of starts and the people who started on the other side of the road soon split off from our route and headed a different direction. I still wonder how much longer that they had to run to get to Epcot or where they entered the park. We entered Epcot between Canada and Great Britain and ran around the World Showcase. I thought about hitting the bathroom in Norway, but we exited Epcot at Germany. Oh well, I would hit the bathrooms at Ticket and Transportation. I decided to get rid of my trash bag around mile 3 and briefly wondered if I should not have hung onto it longer. Damn it was cold!
I was happy to get to Ticket & Transportation and hit the bathrooms and warmed my hands in the hand dryer before heading out to look for the kid. I did not see him but I saw one of our TNT coaches. I told him that if he saw my kid, send him off to the Grand Floridian. It was cool having the monorail trains honk their horns at us. As I ran past the Contemporary Resort I kept an eye out for him there because our TNT staff member was there and he said he might hang out there. Well, he saw me and I did not see him. It was still dark as I was running into the Magic Kingdom but it would not be long before the sun would start to rise. I saw another one of my coaches on Main Street USA and he told me that I was the first one in our group to pass by and that I was ahead of my friend Tim by over 3 minutes. I could not believe that because Tim is a very fast runner. As I made my way through Frontier Land, I got my camera ready for this picture.
Too bad Jack Sparrow was not really Johnny Depp.
On the way towards the Grand Floridian resort I kept my eyes open for the kid. There were lots of people out cheering for us and they were all bundled up. They were real troopers for being out there. Around mile 11 I saw someone ahead of me slide on the pavement going through an aid station. The water being spilled from the cups was freezing on the pavement. By the time I got to mile 13 someone had been out to put down sand in the aid stations to keep anyone from landing on their ass as they tried to grab a cup. I was still feeling good and keeping up with my feeding and drinking schedule. I was still having people pass me, but now I had people that I was passing as well. The sun was up but the temps had not come up. There was a girl running in front of me that had little beads of ice hanging off of her pony tail that had been brushing across the back of her shirt and picking up the sweat and then freezing as her hair swung in the air. Steam was coming off of everyone and we were all fogging the air with out breath.
As we got near Animal Kingdom I had to stop and run back and pick up my camera that had worked it's way out of my pocket. I walked as I undid my Fuel Belt and stuffed the camera deep into my pocket and put my Fuel Belt back on. I got running again. That was around mile 16 and that was the first time and only time that I was going to be walking on that marathon course. I took advantage of a bathroom inside of Animal Kingdom to use a flush toilet rather than a port-o-can, wash my hands, refill my Fuel Belt bottles, and have a Hammer Gel and to warm my hands again under the hand dryer.
I stopped for a picture with Minnie Mouse before leaving Animal Kingdom and heading to the turn-around at mile 20.5 near The Wide World of Sports. I still felt good and was surprised when I saw the mile 19 flag. Somehow I missed mile 18. That was a good feeling. I was holding good to my 10 minute miles. My left knee was getting a little achy but I expected that after all of those miles. It was nice to hit the turn around and see tons of people that I was ahead off because they all looked strong.
I passed a few people just before entering Hollywood Studios and the buses full of park guests going to the parks were waving to us. My only advise on this run is to skip the free chocolate that they hand out at mile 23. It was cold hard chocolate that would not melt in your mouth and it got all stuck in my teeth. In my picture here with Dug I have a stupid smile because I have chocolate all over my teeth and I did not want to look like a hillbilly with a piece of chocolate stuck over one of my teeth like I had a gap from a missing tooth. I did yell "Squirrel!" instead of saying "cheese" for my photo here. No "Cone of Shame" here! I was feeling great and it was still early in the morning. I had not hit "The Wall". Hollywood Studios was just opening up so there were lots of people cheering for us near the entrance.
From there I knew that I was almost done! I ran through the Boardwalk resort area and hung with a gal that was dressed up as Jessie from Toy Story and a gal who was running in a racer back tank top, a running skirt, arm warmers, and calf sleeves. She was also sporting bright red and goose bump covered skin. She admitted she was cold. As we entered Epcot again we got a second chance to run around the World Showcase before it opened up at 11:00 am and then it was past the huge Christmas tree, the big fountain, and Spaceship Earth. Racerback gal was trying to pull off her gloves and arm warmers for her finish line photo. Come on! Leave them on so that people will know that it was cold out there! I had only shed my trash bag at mile three. Everything else had stayed on and I had not thought once of taking anything off. As I came towards the finish I had one last goal that I had to fulfill. I dug out my camera and before I crossed the Finish Line I had to stop for this...
I crossed the line at 10:18 am finising in 4:37:22 which is only six and a half minutes off my PR at the San Antonio Rock n' Roll marathon in 2008. I stuck to my goal of keeping an easy pace I knew I could maintain right from the start. I only had to walk one time and that was for the camera thing. I did not have to walk because I was in pain or because I was fatigued. For me, that was a huge accomplishment. And it was a great finish since I had run 13.1 miles the day before.
I got all of my Goofy goodies and got my gear and found my kid at the Team in Training tent waiting for me. I changed into some dry clothes and ate the most delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We hit the buses and then we hit the Magic Kingdom to celebrate.
These were by far the coldest races that I have ever done. These were not the fastest races that I have done, but these were the ones that I felt the best on. It was great to have my friend Coach Bill out there on both days. Coach Bill is a Lymphoma survivor and you may have seen his picture in this M.D. Anderson ad in Time or on one of the pop up ads on a web page.
Thank you to all of my supporters. You know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I postponed this entry until after they got their thank you notes because the picture of Goofy and me was on the front of their thank you card.
Now that is some hardware!!!
My left knee is still a little angry with me, but we are working on that. I have enjoyed my recovery time, but now I am ready to get back into the mix of training again.
Have a great day!