Imagine being ten miles into your first marathon and looking down at your shoe, only to realize that you have lost your timing chip. The devistation lasted about a mile and it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.
My goal for this first marathon was just to finish. Of course being human I threw in a little ... but under 5 hours would be great. All of my long runs indicated that it could be done.
I got the 2:45 AM wake up call from Stich and Mickey got ready and was out the POP Century door at about 3:15. I left my mother and son sleeping. My dad would arrive later. There were about 15 people on the bus and I was the only one with a stool to sit on. I figured that there would be more since there would be a lot of sitting around. I also figured that if it was a problem, someone would say something. No one ever said anything. After the 10 minute walk to the staging area, I checked my bag and sat on my stool to wait for the fun to start. ...and waited ...and waited. Finally, we were released from the staging area to head to the corrals. I was in C which was for the schlumps like myself. Thankfully, I had my trusty stool which came in handy for the next hour or so. At about 5:30 I left to use the bathroom (woods). When I came back there was a 75 year old man using the stool to stretch. I grabbed it out from under him and slapped him around with it. Kidding! We talked for a while and he was about to run his 99th marathon. His son (50ish) was about to run his 46th. I was impressed. Anyway, I offered him the stool and he took me up on the offer. He was very thankful. At 6:00AM the fireworks went off and away we went. It took about 4 or 5 minutes to cross the start line and I started my Gallowalking right away. Seven minutes of running and one minute of walking. I stayed to the right and did not have a problem staying out of other runners way all day.
The first ten miles were easy. Just taking in all the Disney stuff was great. Time and miles passed quickly. I felt great and could not believe that my pace was as slow as it was. Still I was on pace for a sub 5 hour race. I also got my first call from my dad. He wanted to see me on the course and had met up with my mother and son at the hotel to come out and watch the race. I had no clue where to go except from other race reports and threads on the subject. They were a little later than was optimal so we decided on Animal Kingdom (mile 17ish) and EPCOT for the finish.
At mile 10 I looked down at my shoe and did not see my chip. I looked again and still, no chip. Finally, I pulled off to the side and looked closely. Sure enough, I had lost my chip. At first, I was really down about it. It only took about a mile to rationalize that it was hot. It was my first marathon and I was at Disney. This was the best thing that could have happened. Had the chip been there, I would not have had nearly as much fun as I did. I stopped at most of the characters for pictures and really took my time (some of that was my legs decision). Running through MK was awesome. The air was so thick that I could not see the castle at the beginning of main street. The MK high lasted a while. At about mile 15 I had a power gel followed by an orange slice, 1/2 banana and some powerade. That was followed by a bathroom stop. Aah, much better. Shortly thereafter I passed the AK sewage plant. I try to take things in stride and ignore the small stuff but the smell was awful. You would have thought that it was gastric bypass day in AK. (shot out to my OH MEN!!!) Bad smell. Anyway, I coordinated with the family and found out that they were by the resort guest bus drop off near the AK parking lot. They were easy to find as my dad is tall and my son was on his shoulders. We chatted for a few minutes and I was on my way again. This was about mile 18 and I really felt fine up to this point. At mile 19 there was a long incline that whipped me. My legs did not want to work anymore. My Gallowalking was still 7 to 1 but in the other direction. My legs felt as if they were going to revolt at any minute. I felt as if any wrong move would cramp my legs to the point of ending my day. The general pain level was about 8 out of 10.
"It doesn't matter how hard you hit. What matters is how hard you get hit and keep moving forward" --Rocky--
I must have told myself that 100 times over the last 7 miles. The race was kicking my *** but I had to keep moving forward. Thanks Rock! I called my ex at mile 22 and said "say something inspirational". Without hesitation she came back with "you have not come this far.....". I did not hear the rest but I guessed. That was good for a mile or so. All these little diversions kept the miles rolling by.
By mile 23 there was only a 5K to go and I knew I would finish If I didn't do anything stupid. The great part about the last three miles is that a lot of it is in MGM and EPCOT. They are relatively easy miles due to shade, crowds, close to the finish etc... I had a good burst of energy in MGM that probably lasted 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile. I ran all of the time and it felt good. As I was running on the board walk, I saw WISHer Mel. I went over and to my shock she remembered my name from The Race For The Taste in October. Here is a secret. I really wanted a break and would have hung with her for an hour if she would have let me. She gave me some energy jelly beans and sent me along. (side note - she is awesome. that was a kind and selfless gesture that really helped me finish the race. I will never forget that. Thanks Mel). I walked through most of EPCOT following a group of three people. I heard them say that they were going to walk in anticipation of a big finish. I thought that sounded good. I followed them. I probably ran the last 1/2 mile and finished in about 5:43 according to my finish line picture.
Not only did I not officially finish the race. According to the race results, I never started. I must have lost my chip before the start and never noticed. Everything happens for a reason and I think that having lost my chip was a blessing. My family met me at the finish and we spent the rest of the day at EPCOT.
I took 2 cups at every stop during the first half of the race end 4 cups at every stop during the second half. It was just not a good day for a long run. With all the misery involved, I signed up for the Goofy in 2008. I can't wait.
I feel as bad as I look. This was all I could muster.
Two days later at Crystal Palace.
Shout out to my surgeon --- Dr. Elmer Valin!!!
2 hours post race. Not feeling so hot and carrying my wet clothes.
FINISH - nice to see but not as euphoric as I imagined.
What a great crowd. Loud.
Nice sight with 1/2 to go.
After leaving MGM
Pretending to look happy.
Perhaps the force will take me the last 3 miles.
Sorry vets for the poor posture. I was a little tired.
I though I was the only one hurting.
Right after this pic, it all went bad.
Nice sight at mile 18. Me with the boy.
Just sealing some stock deals.