I've been telling everyone that I would email you to give you my marathon details, and here it is. My race is in 3 short weeks, and I'm getting SOO excited. For any of you so inclined, you can track my progress online, and know almost as soon as I cross the finish line what my time is.
Go to www.disneyworldmarathon.com, and you will get all the information you could possibly want about this race.
The field closed at 32,000 participants, but that's marathoners and half-marathoners together. The half-marathon is being run on Saturday, and the full marathon (my race) will be on Sunday. I won't be the first one to cross the finish line, but I won't be the last one, that's for sure.
I'm not sure I've talked to everyone about this race, and some of you might be bored with this next paragraph because you've already heard me drivel on and on about it. I started training for this race back in July. I've been saying for years and years that I wanted to run a marathon. I just never seriously sat down and figured out the how and the where and the when.
Saying I wanted to run a marathon became just words...no real intention behind them. Well, one of the last conversations I had with my father before he passed away was about a marathon. See, despite his struggles with Alzheimers, Daddy still managed to remember I had talked about running one of these long-ass races. I told him I needed to stop talking about it and actually JUST DO IT. He teased me about procrastination, and we moved on to another topic. So then Daddy passed away, and it was such a big loss for me.
Three months after the funeral, I was at a friend's daughter's birthday party, and his sister started talking to me about training for the Marine Corp Marathon. I thought if she can do it, so can I, and I joined a running group practically the next day. The group leader told me that by starting when I did, running the Marine Corp race wasn't feasible, and gave me a list of other races I could consider. She said the Disneyworld Marathon would be in January, and it was a done deal. I came home, and signed up online. Back in July, running a marathon seemed like a LONG time away, forget about the increasing weekly mileage I would be logging. It was not long after I started runniing that I recalled that conversation with my father. I was only running 8 miles, and it seemed like a huge distance for me then, and my father popped into my head. As I ran, I replayed that conversation over and over, and next thing I knew 8 miles were done, I felt fantastic, and I decided I would dedicate this race to him.
That was five months ago. I've gone from struggling to finish 5 miles, to peeling off 10 miles like it's nothing. Daddy would say I'm crazy for doing it if he were here, and he wouldn't be wrong.
I haven't lost but 2 pounds this whole time, but boy-oh-boy do my clothes all drape off me now. I should have taken a before picture, but believe me when I say running has toned and shaped me back to a figure I cut when I was the Army. So while the numbers on the scales are disappointing to me, I love how I look and LOVE how I feel.
Some marathoners will tell you grisley stories of injuries, I have no such stories. Some runners actually lose toe nails, all that I've got is a small bruise on my big toe on my left foot. In the beginning I'd get back from a run...say, 6 miles, and I'd be a blob on the couch for the rest of the day, literally wiped out for hours. Now I can run 20 miles, come home, shower, and nap for an hour or so, and be full of vim and vigor for the rest of the day. So I would call that progrress. Over all my enegy level has increased tremendously, making these last few weeks before the race easier to get thru. Of course, my excitement is overflowing: I'm going to Disneyworld!!!!
Well, alrighty then, that pretty much does it for me telling you about my marathon. All that's left is to run it, and I will do exactly that 3 weeks from Sunday. I'm predicting a finish time around 5 hours 45 minutes.
Anything under 7 hours is a win for me, but anything under 5:45 will be a HUGE win for me. (regardless of who crosses the finish line first).
Love to each of you, hurry up and finish your holiday shopping, and
remember: don't drink and swim, but if you do, wear a helmet!
I'm a Marathoner!!!!
I ran my race last Sunday. Five and a half months of training culminated for me at 6:02 Sunday morning when the fireworks went off and we all (all 13,000 of us) took off to run 26.2 miles. I was so excited, and nervous too. I woke up at 3:30 in the morning, it was already 68 degrees. It was only gonna get warmer, and it did. Boy oh boy did it ever. It was 85 degrees by 10:30, and runners were dropping out like leaves in fall. Experienced runners, first time racers, young and old alike, just couldn't handle the heat. But more on that later. So the race began and we were off. I was overwhelmed by the number of runners. I was overwhelmed I was one of them. I was in a crowd of over 13,000 people all looking to run 26.2 miles. (Most faster than me.) When I crossed the starting line, I thought about all the running I did to get to this point, I thought about all the preparation I did, and all I had to do was get to the other end of the race and I would be a marathoner. Seemed oh so easy at 6 in the morning. Well, the race started warm, and I figured it would be in my best interest to conserve myself as much as possible so that when the sun did come up and start to beat down on us I'd have something left in my tank for the finish. I had the thought that I would run my race in the area of 5:30 to 5:45. HA! Right. Maybe if it were cooler, sure. But it was warm at the beginning of the race, and oh, yeah, did I mention the humidity? It's January 7th, for pete's sake!!!! Hot and humid, that I did in the summer, not so much a winter combo in my mind. So comments began. All the runners were commenting on how hot it was. Already at the beginning of the race! But I just wanted to run this thing, so I ignored the negative and kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Disneyworld Marathon. If there is a marathon race to run, this is it. First of all, it's in Disneyworld, so there is SO much to look at on the course (except for that one stretch...but i'll get to that). Second of all, it's Disneyworld!!!! There were all the characters sprinkled over the course, for photo ops during the race. I had my picture taken with Mickey and Minnie, with Darth Vader and two Stormtroopers, and with Mary Poppins. I had my picture taken with "Red" the parrot, a turtle, and a hawk. I had my picture taken a few more times, but as the miles passed, the less I wanted my picture taken. I was getting real hot and tired, and putting a smile on for the camera seemed so....not what I wanted to do.
Anyway, there were the characters, the scenery, the bands. There were three marching bands from local high schools. Not marching, just playing for the runners. I love marching bands. It's why I watch the Rose Parade every year. So listening to the bands as I ran by, it made me smile. There was a Beatles band, they tried to look like the originals, but the wigs were so ... wiggy. Maybe it was cause it was so hot? There was a steel drum band, who doesn't love a steel drum, right? There were roaming bands of cheerleaders, nice thought on paper, but really, after 6 hours of running and 4 miles to go, cute perky little girls shaking pom poms wasn't the motivator I needed. Cute perky shirtless firemen with water hoses spraying us down would have been a better motivator.
There is a running group called Team In Training. Runners do fundraising for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They wear purple shirts, and it's not hard to find 'em in the pack. Many of the runners in the group run because they personally know someone affected by the diseases. So, many of them had messages written on their shirts, and one made me cry (I cried alot on this race, maybe that's why it took so long for me to finish?). On his back he wrote: If you think 26.2 is hard, ask my mom about chemo. I cried.
Another runner wrote: I'm running this in memory of my dad. And as I passed her, I told her I was running in memory of my dad, too. I cried.
Another runner wrote: Dedicated to all the active duty service men and women overseas. I told him my hubby was in Afghanistan, he said he'd keep him in his thoughts. I cried.
Some runners were in costume. I saw too many Minnie Mouses, one was a dude. I saw many Tinkerbells, a few were dudes. I saw several Goofy's. I didn't cry.
There was much to look at and plenty to enjoy for most of the race, but there was this one stretch, like from mile 18 to mile 23 that was just plain. It was actually part of a highway that runs past Disneyworld that was closed off to traffic for the duration of the race. Well, it was boring. And hot. And two of the 4 water points on that stretch had run out of water cups so volunteers were poouring water into our mouths. That was ... welll, I was certainly thankful they hadn't run out of water, too.
As I had pretty much figured out my finish time was gonna be WAY past whatever I had predicted, I just wanted to gut it out and just finish. the last 4 miles were awful for me. I was hot, I was tired, I was hot (did I mention that allready?) and now, of all things, my left knee started bothering me. And that scared me. I started imagining all sorts of horriblle ailments afflicting my knee, and almost talked myself right off the course. But I labored on, because I JUST WANTED TO FINISH.
Which I did. A grueling 7:10:55. So not the time I wanted, but a week after the fact, I am no longer hung up on my time. I finished. That's what matters. I finished. That makes me a marathoner.
A week later, here's some more perspective: 26.2 miles is HARD, but it can be done. 13.1 miles is not easy, but it's easier than 26.2. I want to continue running, continue training, but 26.2 is not a distance I'll repeat. Half-marathons will be it for me.
I hope to run the Disneyworld Half Marathon next year.