Let me start off by saying, ďHow Ďbout dem GATORS!!!Ē
Thank for you allowing me to gloat.
WARNING: As usual, I donít post for months and then when I do, itís a novel. For those that want Readerís Digest, it was hot, it was lots of fun to see my friends and I ran in 5:29.
This yearís Disney was one of the hottest, I think everyone can attest. That is saying a lot for someone who grew up in South Florida, like me. As always, we still had a great time and look forward to next yearís race.
Thursday, a long drive from Atlanta to Orlando that didnít put us at the hotel until nearly Midnight. We checked into OKW and crashed until morning.
I had every intention of cruising the Kali River Rapids with Black Bart and Captain Alvaro, but I was outvoted by the rest of my crew who wanted to visit the expo. After the expo, which was surprisingly quick this year, we headed to the Outlet on 535 and spent WAY too much money. We made our way over to Pop Century, but we arrived too early. My wife, Tiffany, was anxious about the half the next day and wanted to go eat so we were off to Olive Garden, where we had dinner and went back to our hotel and called it a night.
This was a very interesting experience for me. Iíve never been to Disney on race weekend and watched others run, but that is exactly what I did. I got up early with Tiffany and drove her to the start. We hung out for a while before she made the walk to the starting line. Then I hopped the monorail to the Contemporary where I was able to enjoy a coffee and bagel and watched the half marathoners passed. I saw both Tom and Dave, but both were too intense to hear me. I started to wonder to myself, ďIs that what I look like?Ē The answer is probably, Yes. Then I saw Ellen & Eileen Druckenmiller and cheered for them as they passed. I saw Tiffany a few minutes after 7, gave her a congratulatory kiss and set her into Magic Kingdom. Then it was back to the monorail for the ride over to Grand Floridian. I got over to the Grand Floridian and found an open spot down towards the Wedding Pavilion. Thatís when I saw Eileen Lawrence who recognized me (but I didnít initially recognize her, sorry Eileen). When Tiffany came by, I followed in behind her and paced her for the next 5-6 miles. She got to feel what lance Armstrong must have felt during last yearís NYC marathon. I held her Clif bars, I ran up ahead to get water and PowerAde. I played the part of a good mule. It was actually kinda fun. We met up with Ellen and walked with her for a mile or so. Before I knew it, we were at the entrance to Epcot. It was here that I dropped off and headed to the finish line. After watching Tiffany finish, I went over to the reunion area and met up with her there. Then it was back to OKW for some football, take-out pasta dinner and an early nightís sleep.
We woke at 4:15, had some coffee and walked over to the start. We have taken to staying at Old Key West so that we can walk to the starting line. This gives us an extra hour of sleep. We left the hotel for the corrals at 5:00 and could have actually waited another 20 minutes or so because we still made it to the corrals in about 10-15 minutes. I always enjoy the fireworks at the start and this time was no different. The characters really bring a different perspective that is missing from other races. Lou and I were in different corrals on different courses. Neither one of us wanted to hamper the other. My first few miles flew by and when I hit the merge after mile 4, who was there, but Lou. Off how those things work out. We ran together through the Ĺ point, walking only during water stops, but by then the heat had really started to take hold and we both were wilting. We alternated between walking and running, but we both started to cramp in our legs. I just could not take in enough water. It was brutal. We each kept telling the other to go on ahead, but we ended up hanging together to the finish. Speaking of finish, I must again apologize my nearly running Sheila over in Epcot. My brain wanted to stop but my legs vetoed the idea. I finished with an official time of 5:29:03 and Lou finished at 5:29:36. Not a memorable performance, but I crossed the finish on my own two feet and that is an accomplishment. After the race, we hung out by the pool where my darling wife brought me cold beer and a sub. I napped on and off as I watched the Sunday NFL playoffs and then Lou and I headed off to the Bragathon, where we had a great time of commiserating with old friends. Then it was off to the ESPN Zone for some dinner and to watch the games.
Dragged my tired butt out of bed and made my way to Boardwalk to join Tomís Monday Morning crew. The usual motley bunch was there (myself included) and we took two laps around Crescent lake before coercing Mrs. D and a stranger into taking about 150 pictures with everyoneís camera. After that, it was back to OKW to prepare for a long day, first the WDWDW followed by my beloved Gators in the National Championship. I proudly wore my jersey all day and took every opportunity to high-5 my fellow Gators and sneer at any and all Buckeyes. After riding some of the Future World rides, I made my way to England, where the crew was still gathered and allegedly waiting for me (although I donít buy that, I just think they were drinking slowly). We made our way around World Showcase, drinking and taking pictures (thanks for the beverage in China Julie).The rest of my crew met up with us and my girls had a great time getting spoiled by the deads, thanks especially to Mike, who bought the girls light-up Tinkerbelle wands. By 6 p.m., we had only made our way to the American Adventure. We had to say our goodbyes and head over to ESPN Zone to watch the game. Luckily we got there when we did because we got the last table in the bar area. That is where we spent the next 5 hours cheering on my Gators as they handily destroyed THE Ohio State University. Ellen D and Robert and Linda joined us for a few celebratory beers before calling it a night.
My least favorite day of any Disney trip, packing day. We loaded up the car and headed over to Animal Kingdom for a few rides on Expedition Everest before we said our goodbyes to the in-laws and made our way north. We did have one little stop in Gainesville where we had lunch with my best friendís daughter and bought some very cool National Championships gear. We arrived back in the real world around 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
As always, it is great to see everyone again. This group is probably the only reason I keep doing this race year after year. My next marathon will be the inaugural ING Georgia Marathon in late March. After that, I will make a decision about Flying Pig in May.
Well, Iíve written way too much and need to go spend some time with the girls.
Ciao for now,