2007 Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Report: Brad Wedemeyer (Part 2)
Brad Wedemeyer (Part 1)
we were staying with 2 friends of ours at the all star music resort on disney property. my wife and i were running the marathon as part of the goofy challenge. earl was doing the marathon as his first ever and marna was volunteering (had to pull out of the marathon due to injury).
we learned from getting to the half ~4:00 that you were better off getting to the start a little later. we all woke up ~4:00 and after stretching, getting dressed, and gathering my things, i ate a pb jelly on the way out the door to the buses.
the start was broken into 2 separate groups. they were separate courses for the first 3 miles and then merged for the rest of the race. i was on a separate course from k and earl. that ended up being ok as i had decided that i was going to run the marathon alone so that i could modify my pace as i went along. training had gone pretty well, but as late as that morning, i still didn't know how i wanted to run this thing.
i said goodbyes/good luck to k and earl as we walked to our separate starts and k asked me to promise not to hurt myself. i wasn't sure what i was going to do so i told her i couldn't promise, but i would try.
i waited in line for one last bathroom stop as the start clock ticked down and thought about what i wanted out of this. i decided beating my current best (4:02) was certainly a goal. friends had speculated 3:30 and i felt like that was possible now that i was there and feeling good. 3:10 was the magical boston qualifying time, but 7:15/mile is an insane pace to hold that long.
as i finished at the bathrooms and walked to the corrals, i stopped for the national anthem and made my decision: start fast, find the 3:10 pacer, and hold on for as long as i could. even if i fell of early, i could still finish with a good time and it would be a good lesson on what it takes.
i went into the corral and started moving up to the front. if the start was as slow as the half-marathon, there was no way i would ever find the 3:10 pacer once it cleared, so i had to move up. i was still several hundred yards back at the gun and crossed the line ~2:00 minutes off the clock time, but i felt like that position was good enough.
i immediately moved to the grass off to the right and had a clear lane the whole way. i didn't have a gps, so my only pace guides were the giant billboard mile markers. i stayed on the grass for several miles and noted my pace. after 3 miles, i was 21 seconds behind bq time, but felt good and was not going all out yet. i decided to go for it and try to find the 3:10 pacer.
the miles ticked off and i didn't really make or lose any time. i was getting warm, but a cup of water over my head at every aid station was good enough to keep me going. i caught and passed the 3:20 pacer and then finally caught what i thought was the 3:10 pacer. i was a bit discouraged to find out he was the 3:15 pacer when i caught him as i didn't even know there was a 3:15 pacer. i continued on still feeling pretty good, working my way through the early miles making sure i followed my timer and ate a gu every 26 minutes.
around mile 9 i started hitting the crowds and my pace started dropping. i realized i could get through magic kingdom and the first half of the marathon on bq pace. marna was with mickey and minnie on main street and yelled at me when i passed. it was great to see her out there and along with the crowds at that point, i would have to say it was the high point of the race. i was flying through magic kingdom and everything was working out perfectly.
the next 5-6 miles started to go downhill. i was still keeping pace, but it was a pretty desolate section of road and the crowd and runners were thinning out. right before we hit animal kingdom at mile 16, i was passed by a runner just faster than me in a black tanktop. i reasoned that he was the pace to lead me up to the 3:10 pacer if i could just hold on. i grabbed on and he pretty much pulled me the next 3+ miles to the out and back at mile 20-21.
on the out and back i finally saw my target. he was carrying a stick with balloons and a paper pinned to his back with a big "3:10" written on it. i couldn't tell how far ahead he was though and i didn't have a lot left in the tank. i kicked it up to a 7:01/mile trying to catch him, but i couldn't hold that pace and realized that my chip time was good enough even if i never caught him, so i eased back off again and rejoined my black tanktop pacer.
the rest of the run became pure survival. i occasionally would let my mind wander to what it would feel like if i made it, what i would say to k, what people checking online would be thinking, etc., but my gu timer, or a mile marker, or a cup of water in the face would bring me back to reality. one sub par 1/4 mile could still ruin it. mile 22 on was a bit of a blurr. i just kept pushing, trying to remember what was up ahead and get there without blowing up. i hit epcot park and my heart rate was creeping up higher with every mile. i knew i wouldn't last much longer, but i wasn't going to go through this again, so i couldn't blow up in the final mile. i came around the corner and saw the huge stands and finishing line. i managed a few screams and maybe a few words you probably shouldn't yell at disney, but i was cutting it close enough that i couldn't savor it much. i crossed the line, bent over and let a huge smile creep over my face as i stopped my watch. less than a minute to spare, but i made it and that's all that mattered.
What would you do differently?:
nothing. running the half and walking around the parks for 2 days probably wasn't the best, but it all worked out, so i would not change it.
the guy who paced me in the end crossed a few seconds after me. i told him he saved my race, not sure if he was happy i followed him, but he thanked me stating that he couldn't find anyone at a similar pace for a long time and welcomed the push.
i grabbed some water and stopped in the medical tent for ice. i iced every joint and muscle while watching people finish. i never really stopped moving and basically stretched from the moment i finished the line until we left.
earl came in with an awesome time of 4:19 for his first marathon after breaking a toe during the peak part of his training and then k finished the goofy after postponing all her training with appendicitis. amazing effort from both of them. i met up with both of them in the finishing chute and we headed back to the hotel.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
great race. i would recommend it to anyone that likes disney or good marathons. i would have liked more food on the course, but the entertainment, characters, parks, water, and medical stations were great. i might have to do it again just to enjoy the run a bit more next time!