To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Walt Disney World Marathon Relay ºoº

Agony of d'Feet
 The Walt Disney World Marathon Relay will forever go down as one of THE best races I've ever participated in. I was able to experience the whole marathon vibe (while only having to run the second half), I got to have my best friend as my relay partner and I gained something that has been lacking in my running .... Confidence!

I woke up in the morning and put on Without Limits as some last minute Prefontaine inspiration. Having never even run 1 mile the day after a half marathon, I was unaware of how I would feeling during this second half marathon in a row. But I was excited. So very excited!! We made it to the bus without any wait, and were again quickly at Epcot's busy parking lot. More shopping and running into friends. I love pre-race friend appearances! Before I knew it Brian and I were wishing each other luck and parting was - with him going to the Marathon start while Abby and I went to the relay buses. That was pretty cool - it was a quiet caravan of charter buses driving to the relay point - the ONLY cars on the road!

The "hand off"
At the relay point my time was pretty short. I was able to use the bathroom 100 times, get a photo with Chip and Dale and put on all of Brian's post-race clothes. Okay, so if I need to entertain myself it isn't always in the most conventional ways - but I had fun and I stayed warm! Before I knew it he was checking in at mile 4. Then, as I was shedding his clothes, giving them to bag check and finishing my last potty run I get THE call. The "I'm here" call. I had no idea where "here" was, but at that moment I took off to the little corrals we had at the relay point. Soon he came running around the corner and I had to dart out there to cheer him on (aka lure him with my non-ample bosom), give him a hug as he finished and then take off on a half mile run to my official starting point. Just that hand off alone made my day. It was so exciting being one of the first to start the relay since I partnered up with a speedy pants!


 
I hit the course with the marathon runners and was immediately in awe, terrified, overwhelmed and stiff. The funny thing of having the fast partner is now I was in the marathon with the A corral. I HAD to keep up my pace or get run over! Those first couple of miles hurt. I thought it was going to be a VERY long race for me. I kept on pushing and around the 5K mark it was like all the pain went away. I was finally in Animal Kingdom, my home, and feeling on top of the world! By mile 5 I was on fire. I couldn't believe these were MY legs that just kept trucking along. For the rest of the race I was doing intervals - but not any specific time. I mean basically I did toss my 4:1 out the window and just kept running until I needed a break. Then I'd walk a hair and pick it right back up. I even passed a guy with an Ironman tattoo going up a hill!! 

Before the run I had no idea if I'd do the photo stop thing or not. I was going to play it by ear. I hit the first one (villains!!) and since I was so stiff I figured I would stop. Another bonus about running with the faster group is that they don't do photo stops! For the entire 13 miles I hit every single character stop. I had a rhythm. See the characters, turn on the camera, make eye contact with the greeter and start sticking my arm out so they'd know I was coming. I'd run up, get my photo, thank all of the characters and photographers, grab my camera and keep going. I had it down to a science! And I do not regret my stops at all. I had such a fan-freaking-tastic time that day! I really did have a smile on my face the whole 13.1 miles.

Running through the Studios was a rush. Oh my! Guests were in the park for the day, so we had extra cheerleaders sending us on our way. I had goose bumps all over my arms and thought my music was loud. Then I realized my music wasn't on - the loud noise was the roar of the crowd. That last 5K was incredible. So many emotions happened and I enjoyed soaking it all up. Hitting World Showcase I realized it was all almost over. I was excited and a little bummed because I had a lot more left in me. I wasn't ready to be done running! When I exited the park and hit the gospel choir I knew what was going to happen. My eyes welled up with tears and I was just overcome with emotion. I got a photo, took one of the 26 mile marker sign and then began my last stretch to the finish line.

After hamming it up for an on course photographer I heard a huge group of people yell my name. I looked over and there was Brian! That did it. Tears started forming, I got one last spring in my step and savored every last second to the finish line. I've never experienced a finish line like that one. I can't even put it into words! I crossed, got my medal and immediately started crying. I just finished 29.3 miles of racing! I've never done that in a week, let alone a weekend. I bought a bracelet the night before. It says, "Nothing is impossible if you believe." That motto carried me through to the end! Brian ran up and asked how I felt from the other side of the fence. I said, "I'm pretty much the most awesome person in the entire world right now!"

Post-race, Agony of d'Feet (our relay team) stretched together, danced, took photos, had some pizza and just reveled in our overall feeling of badass-ness!

I'm not one for stats too much in my recaps, but here is why I felt so on top of the world. I hit every single photo stop. My finish time was still faster than 5 of my prior half marathons. My actual "moving" time, according to my Garmin, was only 5 minutes off of my half marathon PR. I was on fire!! Running such an awesome race, and doing it with my best friend ---- a fabulous, memorable, dare I say "magical"?? experience! Will Agony of d'Feet reunite again? Oh we'll see each other on race day for sure .... but we may be raising our own bar a little bit and going for more!! ºoº

9 comments:

  1. OH wow such awesomeness ... WELL DONE xx

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  2. I teared up reading your recap!! You rock!! How awesome!!

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  3. CONGRATS!!!

    so the actual marathon was during park hours?! that's pretty sweet! and something that would have me run a Disney event again!

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  4. Rebecca -- the first started at 5:30, so yeah, by the time everybody finished all of those miles the parks were starting to open. Epcot was open, too when I went through - just not World Showcase. The guests really added something to it!

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  5. Loved your race recap!!!! Seriously makes me want to run this type of relay!

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  6. Awesome blossom!!
    Hey you are tagged in my latest post.

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  7. Congrats on such a great race! Great ending to an awesome running weekend that will go down in the books!! YaY!

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Thanks for reading my little blog, your comments rock my compression socks!! ºoº