Thursday, January 12, 2012

Race Report - WDW Half Marathon 2012 (Goofy Day #1)

I never would have imagined that this weekend would turn out as well as it did! It was one of those times when something happens and there is no way to explain it except that it was God's grace. I can honestly say that I've never felt as close to God as I did during the last week. I had hoped and prayed that I would be able to complete the races, but I was OK with not finishing if that was God's will. I knew that I did not want to undo the progress I had made with my IT band - it wouldn't be worth it to me. I need to get back to running for pleasure and completing any one particular race just isn't worth another couple months of recovery.

And now for the race report:

As with all Disney races, you have to be up unnaturally early. Since I had to do my stretching first, I had to get up even earlier. I set my alarm for 2 AM, but my body woke me up at 1:15. I couldn't go back to sleep so I spent that time in prayer. I got out of bed at 1:50 and started getting stretched and rolled. My plan was to do all of the stretches that were done on the ground, since I knew I wouldn't be able to do those in the corral. Then I got dressed and headed over to the buses. I walked out of the room right at 3 and got walked straight onto a bus. I was so glad that I didn't have to stress about being in a line and waiting. Even though it was cold, I'd rather wait at the race start than in a line or in traffic (and apparently the traffic was quite bad). I got to the start to look for the H tent and the ROTErs, only to find there were no letters on the tents! ACK Luckily I found a couple of ROTE folks and attached myself to them! I was so nervous, though, that I didn't really do as much talking as I normally would have. I just get so nervous in front of groups of people. :(

Here I am at the ROTE tent before the race:

I walked to the Corrals with Jill, Carol, and Ernie... I was in Corral E, but some of the ROTErs told me that there were some issues with corral placement and I should go to the Expo to get it fixed. I decided that if I finished the half and felt strong enough to start the full, I would definitely see about the placement since I would need the time cushion. I said goodbye to my friends as they headed to their corrals, and I felt really alone. I decided to focus on what I needed to get done - stretching and peeing! LOL I didn't wait in a porta-potty line for more than 5 minutes so that didn't take much time. I had lots of time to really stretch out, which was great!

The race started and it was very crowded. One good thing about my corral placement was that there were lots of walkers so I didn't feel intimidated doing my 1/4 interval (1 minute running, 4 minutes walking). In fact, during the run portion, I often felt like I had to hold back because I just couldn't get around the crowds. My friend Jan had texted me that she would be cheering at mile 1 and 11 with her team (she was doing the relay on Sunday) so I kept my eyes out for her. I had decided that if I felt pain right off the bat, I would just pull myself off the course when I saw her and I could cheer, too. But I didn't need to - I felt great right off the bat and felt strong as I passed her!

A little too happy for 6 AM?? 
I was fairly familiar with the course because it's pretty close to the course that I've done for the Princess Half, so I knew what to expect. We headed to Magic Kingdom first - I ran into Anita from ROTE and we ran/walked together for a little while. That was nice to be able to have some company for a few minutes! Then it was time to enter the Magic Kingdom and I was so excited to run up Main Street USA and through the Castle! I couldn't believe I was actually able to do it and  that I was so still feeling so strong. I changed up my intervals just a little bit so I could actually be running up Main Street and through the Castle! LOL

Castle... here I come!!
After leaving Magic Kingdom, it was time for the long, boring stretch back to EPCOT. But this time I was just so thrilled to be there that it wasn't as hard. We passed a DJ and he said that we were just past the halfway point, and I started to cry! I couldn't believe that it was real! I laughed at myself for crying already, and said a prayer of thanks to God, and pushed on.

I caught sight of a few ROTErs ahead of me, and really wanted to catch up to them, but it took awhile with my mostly-walking intervals. Finally I found them and it was Katie, Steve, and Kim! I stayed with them for a little while and then they kept going with their own intervals. After that I kept finding more ROTE folks, until finally we all converged in a big group! It was fantastic! I really appreciated seeing everyone - and it was so sweet that so many asked how I was feeling. And they made sure I was feeling fine before they took off again for their next run interval. :)

And I was feeling great still! Jan was waiting up at mile 11 and she got this very silly picture of me! I have no idea what I was even saying, but I was having fun! LOL

Seeing Spaceship Earth (aka "the ball") at EPCOT and knowing that I was almost there was so awesome! I was still feeling no pain in my knees.

Look at this awesome picture I got of "the ball" with the monorail running in front of it?!

Soon enough I was passing the gospel choir, and then running through the finish line! It was more than I could ever have asked for or hoped for!

Now that I had completed the half marathon, I had to decide what to do about the full marathon the next day. I prayed that God would give me the wisdom to know whether or not to start the full...

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