Wednesday, January 19, 2011
So my dream to run a marathon started 20+ years ago. Before I had kids I used to run and loved it… But honestly I really wasn’t a good runner back then. I always seemed to get injured after running a few months so I really didn’t think I had what it took to run 26.2 miles. As the years went on the dream didn’t die but became more and more distant. Had to face the fact that I was packing around an extra 50 pounds that had to go before I could hope to check the box on my marathon dream.
When I crossed that finish line on January 9th at Walt Disney World, I realized my dream. I had accomplished what seemed unattainable for so many years. I’m not one to push myself…I like my comfort zone… but I discovered with the right training and a solid running base 26.2 miles was not that difficult to run. I conquered the fear of failure and fear of injury and accomplished what few attempt to do. I am a Marathoner!
5,943 overall out of 13,529
320/951 in division (40-44)
I started with the 4:30 pace group at the very front of wave 4. The start was neat because each wave got to walk to the start line and got their own send off with fireworks. I wore my Hood to coast singlet, capris and pink compression socks.
The pace leader chattered constantly the whole time I ran with her. I liked it. It kept me focused and the early miles in the dark clicked off rather quickly. We dedicated each mile to someone and thought of them for that mile we ran. I lost the group around mile 9 as we were running through the Magic Kingdom; there was a lot of congestion in the narrow lanes but I still kept up that steady pace however, until about mile 16. I slowed down after that but still felt really good. The entertainment along the course when running outside the parks is constant and is good distraction. There were lots of opportunities to stop and take pictures with the Disney characters…I did a few, but mostly didn’t want to get out of the running groove. I started getting a little shaky at mile 24 but it didn’t last long. The crowd support the last 2 miles running through Epcot was great - strangers calling your name, encouraging you to keep going, friendly touches.
At the 25 mile mark I caught up to a woman (Kelly) who had started the pace group with me. We had been passing each other the whole race. She asked if I wanted to run the last mile with her…it was a good focus at the end and I appreciated her friendship at that time. I couldn’t quite keep up with her but it helped me push through that final mile.
Mentally I felt great…Physically I was amazed I had no calf cramps, no blisters, no pains anywhere except my left lower leg right above my ankle. By the time I got back to the hotel it was swollen and red and it is still a little sore a week after the race.
I am certain I could have run a faster race than I did. But I met my own expectations and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. This was Disney and I had traveled 3,000 miles…I wanted to enjoy every bit of it…and I did!
I also enjoyed getting to know fellow Sparker Suezette and her husband Phil. My DH and I weren’t in Orlando very long and unfortunately didn’t have the chance to meet up with any other Sparkers except Molly who ran both the half and full marathons (truly Goofy!)
Will I run another marathon? I don’t know – it’s going to be hard to beat the Disney experience. My family supported me 100% in my efforts and I hope that my children learned they can do anything they set out to do, no matter how impossible it seems.
Here are a few pictures. The link to view the official ones is: http://www.asiorders.com/view_user_event_v
Suezette and I before the race
Me with 2 of my kiddos - they were so proud of the shirts!
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
I left off part I about 6:00 am Saturday morning. Maria, Nancy and Kim were resting in the van and Jyll, Mike and I were out on the ground in bags (we could tell who the campers were LOL). Mike set the alarm for 10:30 so we would have plenty of time to be ready to send Maria off once Penny and Van 1 showed up. However, Nancy and Kim were up and at it about 9:30. I was NOT ready to get up. I had felt refreshed after the short rest I had after Leg 1, but this little bit of rest after Leg 2 left me feeling Yucky and shaky. The lack of sleep Feeling. But I didn't want to panic the rest of the early birds by hanging out in my bag for another hour so I reluctantly got up.
First thing I noticed was the 20 minute line at the port a potty's. Not a good sign since my tummy was not behaving very well. Not unusual for me but I had gotten through the last 24 hours and 2 legs with no issues so I had been cautiously optimistic that my food choices the prior 24 hours had served me well. So no coffee for me this morning. I downed a banana and yogurt along with choice drugs and had time for a couple of turns in the potty line. I guess I got up early for good reason-LOL. The mood of the van was pretty somber. We were all tired and knew we would all have to dig deep to get through the next 6-7 hours where the party at the beach was waiting.
We got Maria ready to run and waited to connect with our comrades in Van 1. With the lack of cell service we hadn't talked to them since we had started off into the mountains hours before. We had spotty cell service at our location but Van 1 didn't yet. Penny showed up and handed off to Maria - but no Van 1. This was the area where the traffic was the heaviest and we were afraid that if we waited for them to get there we would be missing our next runner. So off we went-leaving Penny there to wait for her van.
During Jyll's leg I did some warm up running to see how my tummy was going to behave. I was feeling much better by then and my legs were surprisingly strong. I wasn't running again until after Mike's long last leg of almost 8 miles. I was so glad my last leg was the shortest - only 4.13 miles. Traffic was thinning out at this point so we had some time to hang out while waiting for Mike. I saw him coming this time and he handed off to me for the last time. Leg 34 starts and ends with hills. Once I started up the initial hill my legs didn't feel quite as strong as they had an hour previously. This road also had a lot of oncoming traffic, no shoulder and the sloped roadway so even though it was only 4 miles it was definitely the worst leg I had to run. My pace slowed down to a 10 minute mile and my legs were burning finishing up the last mile-but I did it and was so glad to hand off to Nancy!
Nancy had a long leg on gravel and then it was Kim's turn to finish off the last 5 miles. We headed off as soon as Nancy came in to try and beat Kim to the finish line as we knew it would be hard to do. We originally thought we could make it to the condo and park but once we got into Seaside knew that would be unlikely. We did find a spot on the street and huffed it to the finish line. We found the rest of the team easily and got into the shoot to wait - and almost immediately heard "TEAM 649" and there was Kim rounding the corner.
Wahoo we DID it! 34 hrs and 2 minutes as a team
After we got our medals and our team picture taken everyone scattered. There were thousands of people on the beach. Mike and I headed over to the American Cancer society booth to see about getting food and a massage-courtesy of us both raising $500 for ACS. By then it was after 5:00 pm so the food was about gone and the massage list was long. Mike snagged some smoked salmon and I did manage to sneak in to the massage table and get the knots worked out of my calves!
The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur. I somehow managed to get a shower, have a quick snack with some Van 1'rs -Jackie, Leah, Gaye and headed back to Kim's house with her, hubby John, Nancy and Trish. We got back about midnight and spent the next hour and a half in Kim's hot tub reliving our experience.
In spite of that I got a decent sleep and was able to say goodbye to everyone the next day before I headed off for the 4 hr drive home and back to real life.
On the way back I wanted to stop and pick blackberries since they grow profusely everywhere. There are bushes just a couple of blocks from Kim's house so I stopped there. The bushes are taller than me and have thorns everywhere-including under the leaves. I was wearing my nylon HTC shirt and it didn't take long for the bushes to see me as fresh meat and grab both sleeves of my shirt. I couldn't believe it - here I had just survived the biggest adventure of my life and I was going to be devoured by the blackberry bushes. I hoped Kim would come by soon, see my car sticking out of the bushes and rescue me. I did manage to get free on my own. don a heavy duty jacket that resisted those buggers and picked a large bowlful of berries good enough for 2 batches of freezer jam!
I learned a lot on this adventure- the value of:
Chauffeurs-thanks Mike for driving
We rocked HTC!
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