Ok, I know you want more details so here goes. I will try to not ramble too much.
When I decided to do Disney, it was at first to run with my friend Chick. He has been an awesome advocate for my running and triathlons. He was planning on going alone, going just too run and come back. Since we are doing many of the same events this year, I decided that I would go with him and run as well.
I started training for this in October. Running 4 days a week. Doing speed and tempo work. My long day was Saturday. Saturdays were supposed to be the days where I built up my distance. Getting my body use to running 20 miles. Over the course of my training, I had five 20 mile runs built in. Out of those 5 only 2 happened.
As many of you know, I am totally stubborn and I think I can basically walk on water. So I didn't allow that to deter me. I felt like I had a base sufficient enough to get me through this marathon. Not only to get me through but to also have a Boston Qualifying effort.
We left for Disney on Saturday morning. Everything was great. The weather was awesome. It was mid 70's leaving NC and low 80's in Orlando. I love warm weather so I thought this was just perfect. We arrived at Disney, checked in and then went over to the expo. This expo was like nothing I have ever seen. Everything and anything that a runner could want was there. It was like information overload.
As Chick and I walked around we were just amazed with everything. It was great. We picked up our race packets and race bags and continued to browse. After about an hour of walking around, we decide to head back and just relax.
We were staying at Old Key West Resort. We stayed there because it was within walking distance to the start line. This was a huge advantage. It meant that instead of having to get up at 3, catch a bus and walk a mile to the start line, we could sleep in until 4 and then just walk over. Perfect.
We woke up at around 3:50 and decided to go ahead and get moving. I had my kinda normal pb&j sandwich before the race and a cup of coffee. Trying to keep everything normal. At 4:30 we walk over to the start corral. Walking to the corrals and seeing all the people was really really intimidating. I was in the A corral which was the second to start. Chick was a little behind me in the C corral. We wish each other luck and went to our corrals.
My race plan was pretty simple. Find the 3:15 pacer and just hang on. Just mindlessly follow him and not worry about pacing myself. Knowing that he would get me there in the time I wanted. I think there were about 30 others who had the same idea. We were all congregated together. One big happy group.
Finally its start time. Mickey, Donald and Goofy does the count down and then fireworks get us started and all form and fashion breakdown. You would think that being in the A corral with runners who have all finished marathons in less that 3:50, you would be with people who knew how to stay in running lanes and not move all over the FOUR lanes of road.
We ended up running the first mile in a little under an 8 minutes. Bad start. The pacer ended up having to work his way through slower runner, causing his group have to follow suit. With that being said, I didn't get into any kind of rhythm. This wasn't the way I wanted to start my race.
My mile 3, we were finally on track pace wise and some of the jostling for road space was over. We were able to get into a running groove. Then I felt my stomach getting a little queasy. In my head, I thought it was just nerves. The anticipation of the race and then the start was causing my stomach to be a little upset. Well by mile 6 the queasy feeling started to become an all out rumble. By mile 10, I had to stop. If you know me, stopping during any runs not less a race isn't something I normally would do.
After my quick port-a-potty break, I was feeling better. I knew I would not catch back up with the 3:15 pacer so I decided to just run easy and do my own pacing. Not a big deal, all things considered. By mile 13, I started cramping. My calves and quads began to totally knot up. Again, I start talking to myself. This will be ok. Just give a couple of miles. By mile 15, I can not keep going. I decide to stop and drink a complete cup of Powerade. In fact I drank 2 cups. Just for the record, I had been drinking some earlier, just not walking with it. So I was just basically getting a splash each time. But I knew that I needed more than just a splash.
Well this didn't really help. I was behind the curve at this point. So I decide to keep going. Not worrying about anything more than just one mile at a time, one aid station at a time. Drinking water and Powerade.
With my race plan out the window, I decide to just relax, run as much as I can but not worry about time or anything else. I decided to stop when I needed to. Just make it to the finish. By mile 22 the 3:25 pacer caught up with me. Which was encouraging. It meant that I wasn't too totally out of it. Just 10 minutes off pace. I decide to try and stay with him. Well I was able to stay with him until about mile 23 and had to walk again.
Now I am telling myself, just a 5k to go. Even if I walk I would be ok. Just finish. So I gut it out the last 3.2 miles and finish with a time of 3:30:09.
Ok, so to be completely honest I was completely angry, frustrated and entirely pissed at myself. For about an hour. I was sullen and down. I felt pathetic. Seriously. I trudge over to the resort, shower and head back and I hear that Chick was having some issues during the race as well. That helped me stop being the BRAT that I am and start focusing on him. I keep trying to find him.
Once I took the focus off myself and looked at the bigger picture, I felt better. Chick, with runner's knee and cramping finished in 5:45 and was happy.
In the end I finished 452 out of more than 20,000. Today, I am happy with my race. The spectator support was incredible. The heat and humidity was more than expected and more than I prepared for. With that said, I WILL definitely go back. Now it's a must. Not only for the marathon, but also for the half marathon the day before. It's called the Goofy Challenge. That is definitely in my not so distant future.