2006 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Report: BetsyAnn
Let me start by saying - I could not have been surrounded by any more supportive people than the Tag Team. Every single person there was encouraging, understanding and was accepting of everyone else. I would call every name and be able to tell you a story about them in these few days. Then there was all the energy being generated from this website. Believe me - I felt you all! Thanks to each of you! Now for …. The view from the Back Me do a ½ marathon? No way! Start a ½ marathon - sure I can do that! And that is just what I did! When I started training I thought maybe I could get into the Magic Kingdom but then with all my grace I fell not once but twice. Now what was the most frustrating for me about the falls is that neither happened while I was training. I seem to be more focused when I am working out then when I am just walking around the planet! Three months in a walking cast, months of massage therapy and strengthening exercises and I was right on track with the 14 week training. Until after the 3 miles walk - I fell again - this time not only the ankle but the knee, and shoulder. So after a hysterical visit to the doctor for some calming and some healing tricks, the start line was the realistic goal. Now when you are at the back, one can discover all kinds of things. First thing - there is wonderful heat when there are thousands of people huddled together in the corrals. This is very helpful when the temperature is hanging at 33 degrees and the winds are whipping. Also learned that it is very cold when everyone starts to spread out! It is ok to litter if you are running a long race. The sheer amount of clothing laying on the track ( not very polite to do that!) and then outside the track was amazing in the first two miles. I started with 3 layers of pants, 4 layers of shirts, a hat , gloves and my fanny pack. Took off the outer pants in the corral, and tossed the hat as the sweat was running down my neck. Never toss your hat if it will still be cold at the “T” tent! It is very good to have a very tall man in a red, white and blue hat in the group. Thanks John - it helped to be able to see where you all were as the group crossed the start line. I also learned that the “official” start time is iffy at best. I guess mine was reported online as 6:01 something - Not in this race!!!!! My best guess, after seeing John’s start time and knowing about how far behind I was from him would be about 6:20 or so. Magic happens at 6 am, in the dark and cold, while walking ( what did you think I was going to say?) Mickey Mouse knows me anywhere! As I got to the start line I got a High Five from Donald and a wave and blown kiss from MY MOUSE! Even at the back, people pass you. I was walking my race and it was no where near 16 minute mile, lots of wonderful people passed me - shouting words of encouragement - as I kept walking - placing one foot in front of another. Now somewhere in that beginning 10 feet - someone caught the front of my shin with the heal of their shoe. He/she apologized. A good thing about the cold is that it hurt for about 3 seconds then I forgot about it until I got back to the room and saw a nice bruise. What you can’t see doesn’t hurt until you see it Now at the back you get to hear all kinds of things from the sweepers. Now I have to say my experience with the sweepers was nothing but positive. At mile 1 I was counted off as being 16 seconds behind. I learned they added 25 minutes to the start time. I also knew I was not the last one to cross the line by a long shot! Best guess the beginning mile took me 26 or 27 minutes. Now right there, I saw the first thing that made me understand clearly that some people were all about arguing and fussing with the sweepers. Such a waste of energy - all that yelling and arm waving - wasted energy - they could have speed up instead of arguing but hey it was their race they were running not mine - I just kept walking cuz at mile 1 I did a little check with the legs and ankles - they all said we are good - go another mile! You are not always the last one when you think you are! I was sure several times I had to be the last person before the sweepers. I would not know I wasn’t by a long shot until mile 2. When walking I just kept looking around - noticing that I had no clue where I was - I never know where I am at WDW when riding in a car and nor apparently when walking the same streets! I talked to some walkers who were around me. We laughed a bit as we walked on. Soon I would see a water station - drank a bit of PowerAde - still yucky - then a glass of water. Now I have to stop to drink - so a little encouragement from the water station people. Now I could see Mile 2 - I also heard my ankle calling for relief! I was limping a bit. The young sweeper - wish I knew these two guys names - said “You are 6 minutes behind - you can stay on the course but you must go faster.” He leaned into me to talk, his voice was calm. I asked, “And if I want to stop now” He said “I will call the van for you” I said “Deal - need to past the marker” He said “Take 6 steps that way” I did and was very, very happy! My second mile was just over 21 minutes - I had gotten faster. I walked way more than 2 steps past the start line. I choose to end my race when I wanted too. And then as I stood there I saw nearly 200 people walk past me. Each person walking their race at their speed and in their time. I was very proud of each of one! Climbing into a van that was wind free -priceless. I sat and listened to their radios. I heard the call to stop a group of about 400 at mile 3 then another group at mile 3.4. I heard them discuss how frustrated and agitated some of the group before mile 3 was and that they needed to block the road with police cars. I also heard the very quiet, very regretful “I’m sorry” muttered by the older sweeper as he said it. Immediately followed by his strong voice demanding water, and food in the busses for all those they were sweeping. From the van to a bus. Just as I was getting on the bus, the phone rang. It was Dave! His voice is distinctive and was very welcomed! Told him where I was, that I was very happy - got reports on where some others were, got good job from Dave then goodbyes. Then on to the very confusing, what seemed to be completely disorganized ride to the finish line. I met some very nice people on the bus - let one use my phone to call her family. After what was seemed to be forever - I walked over to the “T” to wait for the rest of the family. Now I love seeing Urslinda and Lynnr all the time - but I was so happy to see their faces coming to me through the crowd. Hugs and good jobs! Linda had chocolate, a red cape that saved me from freezing, found some Mylar blankets and did a great job of being team mom! Lynn was great keeping us gathering and spotting people as they came in. Robert and his friend Alan were the first ones we saw, then Dave and Laura, and people just kept coming. The cheer, hugs and great jobs were for everyone - finisher or not! Every person on this team exceeded their goal. There was not a more supportive, caring team anywhere in hear shot from us! Once again - this place sets the standard! I do not want to leave anyone out - but this little set of thoughts is getting long - Cheri, SusanL, Moley, Sheryl, Terry - it was fun and each of you did fantastic - your attitude and yes I can was great!!!! Alicia, Pam, Twinks, Belle, Jennie, Ali, Debbie, Mike, Amy, Sharon, John, Bill, Robert, David, Laura, Alan, Sue and David, and last but never least - Pixie - You all rocked - did great, wowed everyone! Thanks to all! The supporters and cheerleader - Linda, Lynn, Karen (RoseBud), Chris (cshore), Kristen (BriarRose) and all the wonder husbands, children and anyone I forgot - big Command Central - YEAH!!!!! And next year I go for 4 miles! If you would have seen me walking or what was close to walking, on Sunday afternoon, you would have thought a mack truck ran over me - each step was slow, measured and slightly painful - by Monday I was at MGM and MK before I headed home - walking much faster and with very little pain. So for all those who are thinking I can’t run a ½ marathon - I know you can start a ½ marathon. You can choose to start the 2007 Disney ½ marathon or choose a different race. Know if you choose Disney - they require a 16 minute mile and they will take you off the course if you are too far behind - that is their race. You can make it your race - with your own goals, your own standards of success. There is no failure in a race. You do your race in your way and get to the start line - you already won!