Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Most Magical Marathon

Disney Marathon Weekend has come and gone ... and I am still able to move!!! While some hard core endurance runners may not be too impressed with my time, I'm happy with my accomplishments. It was my 3rd full marathon, and each time I have improved my time. My first one I walked, with a sprained ankle, for most of it and finished right around the 7 1/2 hour mark...not pretty at all. My second, Disney Marathon 2007, I finished in 6 hours 26 minutes with blisters all over my poor feet. This year, however, I finished in 6 hours and 17 minutes feeling fine (muscle soreness and a small bit of chafing in a strange place, but nothing major at all). I even danced, jumped, and worked up another sweat at the victory party because I felt so good! Here is how my day went on Sunday -

1:30am - Hubby wakes up and starts the shower. Being on night shift normally, he wasn't really able to sleep all night even though I didn't have to get up until 2am.

2am - Even though I've been awake for a little while, the alarm goes off and I officially get up and start getting everything ready. Race Ready capris, singlet with all my ribbons, Garmin, toe socks, Sharkies, sport beans, Luna moons, muscle fuel, sun block, chap stick, ear phones, iPhone, band aids, hand warmers, salt packets, ID tag on my shoe, emergency info on the back of my race number... check check and check. Make hot water in the coffee maker for my oatmeal and shovel it in.

2:40am - Robin knocks on the door to get me so we can start walking towards the meeting area. Chris is busy making a sign for me, "Go Princess Nicole!" Could he be any cuter? haha

3:00am - Robin and I meet the rest of the Team in Training full marathoners for pictures.

3:15am - Get on the bus headed toward the start line. "Are we nervous yet?"

3:30am - Arrive at Epcot staging area, find a place for our team to gather, stretch, and warm up. Eat my banana.

4:00am - Hubby surprises me by arriving early and meeting me in the staging area! YAY!! I told you he was sweet! :)

4:30am - Check our finish line bags,use the porta potty (3 times), and start the LONG walk towards the corrals. Seriously, that has to be nearly 2 miles right there...can't that count towards our 26.2??

5:00 - In the corral, huddled together for warmth, eat my granola bar and shake up my muscle fuel in the bottle of water I brought. Looking around at all the people who are running this thing with us. Thousands of people of all shapes, sizes, and walks of life getting ready to run over 26 miles. Some for personal glory, some to prove to themselves that they can, some for charity, and some just because they thought it would be fun (?fun!?!). Whatever the reason, we were all here, waiting anxiously for the start.

5:45am - Wheelchair start. WOW are they FAST!!! Can I hitch a ride?

5:50am - official start. Fireworks, fire blasts into the sky, Micky, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald there to wish us all luck and get this thing rolling! Unfortunately, there was a split start and the spectators were only allowed on the far right hand side - I was put on the far left hand side so even though Hubby was there, we didn't see each other :( I called him after I passed where he should have been and he decided to go on to mile 9 and get a good spot to make sure we could find each other.
Mile 1 through 5 - Feeling GREAT! Adrenaline is pumping and I can't believe we've already done a few miles! Running though Epcot with all the lights in the sidewalk and the "golf ball" illuminated was definitely a cool thing to see to get you motivated!

Mile 5 - Still feeling pretty good but Erin (the girl I was running with) and I decided it was time for yet another potty break. The line for the porta potty wasn't short, and stopping sucked but we decided that not stopping would suck worse later if we didn't stop now! The worst part was trying to hold your breath as to not inhale the aromatic fumes in the porta potty and squat over the seat so as to not actually touch it all while out of breath and with tired legs. We get to take this 8 minutes off our final time right?

Mile 6 - On the road to Magic Kingdom, not nearly as cool as being in the park but we do go over an overpass with runners running under making for a very cool picture. Erin stops to snap a picture (I have asked for a copy) and we keep on going towards Magic Kingdom.
Mile 9 - Right at the sign for mile nine is my awesome husband with his "Princess Nicole" sign, and of course a kiss for luck and encouragement!

Miles 10 and 11 - Through the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella's castle! Lots of energy, people cheering, characters dancing, go...go...go... :)

Mile 13.1 - Half way there!!! I'm feeling great but Erin isn't. She's hurting and feeling nauseous. I gave her a salt packet hoping that it would help her to get some sodium in her. She said she felt better after a water stop. Worried that it was her Sharkies that was making her feel this way, she was afraid to take more. I worried that this wasn't a good idea. Her body will need fuel to finish the race!

Mile 15 - Animal Kingdom! The cast members have live animals on the course to chear us on! Goats, sheep, parrots... Erin still isn't feeling great but is hanging on. She loves the animals!

Mile 16 - Another potty stop for Erin. I didn't need to go so I took the time to stretch out a little and text message a few friends as to our progress!

Miles 16 through 19 - Erin isn't doing good. She is no longer able to keep our 3:1 pace but isn't giving up. We see Coach Michele at a medical tent at mile 19 helping another group of Brevard TnT gals with a few issues. Erin is finally able to convince me to go on without her (Only because Michele promised me that she would stay with her) so I ran on with Cathy, Shelly, Ashley, and one other girl doing 4:1's

Mile 19 through 24 - I'm doing OK hanging with the group running 4:1's even though Erin and I had been doing 3:1's

Mile 24 - I found the wall!! I'm not sure what happened but around mile 24 the wind came out of my sails! I suddenly felt DEAD! I wasn't about to give up and quit but I could no longer hang with the 4:1 group and fell a little behind.

Mile 24 through 26 - I was behind the group but never really out of sight of the group. I had to slow down a bit and walk a bit more but I never gave up all together. I refused to let myself "walk the rest of it." Instead, when I needed a break, I picked out a time or a landmark and walked until I reached that point and started to jog again.

Mile 26 - Only two tenths of a mile left! I can see (and HEAR) the finish line!!!!! Hubby told me he would be there but I can't find him. Knowing he is there to see me finish is a great feeling even though I can't see him. I see the race clock in front of me and it isn't the time I had hoped for but I know it is still better than last year's and I'm feeling pretty good!

26.2 - FINISH LINE!!!!!! So happy to be done, proud of what I have done, and ready for an ice bath! The weight of the Micky medal on my neck feels amazing! Pose the for picture with the medal, one hand holding the medal, the other hand in a Sign Language "I Love You" sign for my Daddy,and I'm off to find Hubby.

After the race, even though I felt SO much better than after previous marathons, walking through the parking lot to my husbands truck was quite a trip, but not nearly as funny as I'm sure the scene was with me trying to get into my husband's big Redneck Truck!! THEN, after we arrive at the hotel, I have to climb up a flight of stairs to get to my room!! WHO PUT THOSE THERE!?!?!

Hubby started a luke-warm bath for me to get into and then started slowly filling it up with ice in order to ice down my poor legs. I wouldn't ever get into an ice cold bath, but if I start off luke warm and then add the ice, I'm OK. I also poured about a cup and a half of Apple Cider Vinegar into the bath (for some reason, it really works!) and soaked until my legs were numb - about 20 minutes. I then stood and showered off in a luke warm (which felt really hot after that ice) shower to wash out my hair and get rid of the vinegar smell.

6:00 - 8:00 pm - The Victory Party was a BLAST! Believe it or not, I was on the dance floor doing the twist, the cha cha slide, the electric slide, the conga line, and even "How low can you go?" although my low wasn't very low! The DJ had all the cancer survivors come to the dance floor at one point and played "I will survive" as they all danced together. It was a great sight to remind us all why we were there! (The picture is of the survivors dancing)

8:30pm - A few Tylenol PM's to knock out some of the soreness, and I hit the hay right after the party.

It's possible that had Erin not had such a bad race and needed to stop, we could have made less than 6 hours, but all in all I'm happy. I am glad I didn't leave Erin until I knew that someone was there to keep her company, those miles can be very lonely when you are feelig crappy and have no one to keep you going.

Yesterday and today I feel OK. Only one small blister on my toe and my body definitely knows it worked hard, but I'm not dieing and I'm not cursing the day I decided to sign up for this crazy thing called a marathon. In fact, yesterday, I signed up for a 1/2 marathon in March!

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." - John Bingham

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Wow! This was such an exciting post to read. I found myself laughing, crying, and cheering along with you. Congratulations on finishing yet ANOTHER marathon!