2006 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Report: Aaron Patel (Part 1)
Aaron Patel (Part 2)
Disney makes you get in line SO EARLY for this race! Alarm went off at 2:45 and I was wide awake and ready to start my race weekend! Hopped in the shower for a second and then got dressed. Made myself a couple of bagels with peanut butter to eat as we waited and grabbed a banana and an AminoVital. Jess(Tri Take Me Away) drove us to the staging area and I ate one of my bagels along the way.
We got to the staging area and did our best to find a warm place to wait. For whatever reason Disney wants us there at 4am for a 6am start. So Haley(TriComet), her friend Dionne and I walked around to find a place to sit and wait. We ran into Haley's friend Jim (wearing his Spider-man costume) and we all talked to kill the time. Eventually we would up huddled next to a power generator, using the exhaust fumes to keep us warm. About a half hour before the race started we used the porta-potties and then walked down to the corrals. We said good-bye to Dionne as she jumped into corral G and we headed up to corral B for our start. Right before the start I stripped off my throw-away clothes and was ready to run!
The plan for today was to run at a moderate pace to save my legs for the marathon. Haley wanted to stay at around a 10:00/mile pace and that sounded fine to me. The crowds were real thick the first two miles and we naturally fell behind our goal pace. It was quite cool that morning and as we ran along the highway I started to think that I shouldn't have gotten down to my race clothes so early in the race.
The first few miles were fairly tame along the highway as we ran at an easy pace. Finally around mile 4.5 we ran past the Disney Contemporary Resort (the one the monorail runs through) and got to see our first big crowds of the day! This was kind of a two-faced course. Long empty stretchs of road and then sudden stretches through the park with tons of cheering fans. Those stretches with cheering fans were few and far between but totally worth it! Running through the Magic Kingdom is something I'll never forget.
We finally get to mile 9 and I could tell Haley was starting to bonk. She was woefully undertrained for what she was taking on this weekend. We stopped at the next aid station and she takes one of her eGels. As we're walking along we get passed by a guy wearing a red and yellow Cat-in-the-Hat hat and carring a small Redskins flag! I'll be damned if a Washington Redskin is going to up-stage me at a race! I turn around to see Haley making what is without a doubt the worst face I've ever seen. That gel REALLY didn't agree with her. I thought she was going to get sick right there. It took a bit of coaxing but I finally got her to start jogging again and we had Mr. Washington in our sights.
We pretty much stayed the same distance behind this guy for the next mile and I knew I wasn't going to get Haley to go any faster; it looked like she was already done for the day. As we dodged back and forth through the crowds she told me to go on ahead. That caught me a little off gaurd but there was only a 5K left and I knew she'd be fine on her own. That was all I needed to hear and I took off as fast as I possibly could.
We had been running with a huge group that was doing 9:30-10:00 miles the whole day, so I really took some people by suprise when I started cranking out 7:00 miles at the end of the race. It was constant bobbing and weaving the whole way and I could hear people gasping as this guy with a huge flag went flying past them. It only took me a minute or two to pass the Redskins fan and I made sure to run right next to him and give him a good look at my Texas flag-covered-ass.
Maybe half a mile later I passed up Jim whom I had thought was still behind us. He must have passed us at the water stop and I never realized it. Got off the highway and made my way back towards Epcot. Mile 12 only took me 6:59 and I was feeling great. As we entered Epcot I started to recognize alot of the people I was passing from earlier. Great mental boost to know that I could wipe the floor with them after this many miles. Sprinted as hard as I could once I saw the finish line and only missed my 5K PR over those last 3.1 miles by a few seconds. Very proud of myself.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. I don't usually get to run a race with people I know so it made the day much more fun. The last sprint leg really made me feel good about how much my running has improved over last year.
As soon as I crossed the line I got a mylar blanket and heard Jess yelling my name. Went to give her the scoop on what went down until a race official told me to keep moving. Turned in my chip and got in line for the Goofy tent. The line was ridiculously long and was barely moving. The sun was out but it didn't feel like it had warmed up at all so I was dying while I waited. Jim caught up to me just a minute or two later and I was glad to have someone to BS with while we waited. Especially when I saw the Redskins guy cut to the front of the line! Finally they started handing us bottles of water and opened up some extra stations and the line started to move. Got my orange band cut off and my blue band put on for tommorow. One more day and I'll have my Goofy medal!
I walked up ahead to get my Donald medal and then came back to wait for Haley next to the Goofy tent. After a good 20 minutes I knew that she should have been there by now, even if she had walked the rest of the way. It had been nearly an hour since I finished so I headed out of the finisher area to find Jess. Low and behold I found the girls (including Haley and Dionne) waiting for me on the other side! So happy to not have to wait any longer and I could get in a car with a heater!
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Definitely a fun race. The course is boring for several long stretches but the legs that run through the park more than make up for it.