My Favorite Quote:

"There is an inner beauty about a woman who believes in herself, who knows she is capable of anything that she puts her mind to. There is a beauty in the strength and determination of a woman who follows her own path, who isn't thrown off by obstacles along the way. There is a beauty about a woman whose confidence comes from experiences; who knows she can fall, pick herself up, and move on."

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Marathon #4: WDW - The Race That Almost Wasn't

It was interesting to say the least.  I would have to say that it all started on Friday when I went in to get my ankle kinesio taped for the race.  My ankle injury is a sprain from last February and is almost a year old injury that isn't healing.  I'm beginning to think that it is something other than a sprain since it is only getting worse as time goes on.  As I was packing Friday night, the ankle got painful.  We woke up really early on Saturday morning to catch our 7:30am flight and my ankle hurt enough to rip the KT off.  I was starting to limp and that was not a good sign pre-race.

Our flight was comfortable and we watched "Moneyball" for the in-flight movie.  It was a great movie and was very motivating!  We landed in Orlando just before noon and headed out to lunch with Paul and Ieva!  After lunch, we headed to the marathon expo at the ESPN Wild World of Sports complex!  We picked up our packets and learned that Paul and I had been split into different corrals.  Paul just made the cut-off into corral A and I just missed it and ended up in corral B.  There were 8 corrals, so I was just proud that we made it up to the front.  My competitive streak was pretty ticked that I missed the cutoff time :-)  I was incredibly proud of Paul though.  Ieva was put into corral G as a first timer which was a great placement for her!  

Posing with our bibs (Erin, Ieva, and Paul)!

We walked around the expo, and by this time, my ankle was causing me to limp again.  I pretty much saw any chances of completing the marathon "running" diminish at this point.  I knew what was going to happen and started to tell Eric that it was over, but I have to admit that I hoped that for just this once I would have a break in all of this and get to do what I love...RUN.  We left the expo and headed to our super cheap hotel.  There was some kind of weird goth-like card playing tournament there and we were overwhelmed by teenage boys!

Scenes from our hotel

We were able to find an Olive Garden and headed out for our carbo load!  It was an awesome meal.  After that we headed to the nearest Target to buy some breakfast foods and ankle tape (just in case I decided that athletic tape on an ankle for 26.2 miles was a good idea).  Then we headed back to the hotel and actually went to bed at 8pm!

It was hard to sleep that night.  I think mostly because we went to bed so flippin' early!  But, we managed a few hours of sleep and woke up at 2:15am and hit the showers.  Yes, I shower before a marathon!  We headed out at 3:15am and somehow managed to pick up a hitch hiker in the parking lot.  She was from London and made for an interesting ride to the race.  We figured it was too early for weird attacker people to be up!  We made it to the race in record time and headed in to drop our bags and start the 20 minute walk to the starting corrals.  It was the best run event I have ever been to.  They are obviously very good at managing large crowds of people.  The event was flawless and the only complaint I have is the 45 minute wait in my starting corral.  

Pre-race Porta-Potty photo!
Race Management Crew for the day (Eric)!

It was really cold that morning.  We had to wait behind the bag drop tents for 45 mins before they let us start the walk to the corrals.  There were thousands of porta-pottys lined up on the roads.  I've never seen so many.  I never waited in a line!  Ieva's corral came up first, so we said our goodbyes to her.  Then Paul and I walked up to the front.  It took a few minutes to get up there and I took the chance to do a little warm-up.  Once we hit corral B, we wished each other luck and off we went.  I got up to the front row and sat there with a few others that just missed the cut off.  We got to know each other as we waited for the start.  I was surround by ultra runners with 3:53ish marathon PRs.  It was some pretty sweet company :-) 

After another 45 minutes, Corral A moved up to the start and they started to move B up behind them.  Fireworks went off for each corral.  That was really cool!  This is the largest race that I've run to date and I wasn't sure how it would go.  They moved us to the start line and we waited a few more minutes for the countdown.  I was in the front row which was AWESOME!  I had the start of my life.  I started out a little reserved since I was in the front, but I felt so awesome that I just kept speeding up every few miles to the half split.  I walked the water stops so that I wouldn't end up with my usual choking on water routine.  I also stopped at the port-potty around mile 6 - which I blame on the incredible wait in the starting corral.  I've decided that race directors should start to put port-pottys in the starting corrals.  That would be a good thing.  

Most of the race was run on the back roads of the parks, very little of it was in the actual parks.  There was plenty of entertainment on the course though!  You knew you were approaching a park when you would hear "Runners, speed bumps ahead" over the loud speaker!  I flew through the Magic Kingdom.  It was lined with fans cheering.  It was pretty cool.  On my way out of the park is when the tug behind my knee started.  It got painful really fast, but wasn't slowing me down, so I pushed through it.  I knew I only had a short time left before I was disabled, so I fought through to the half split.  Those chip mats did not come fast enough.  I made it to them with my new marathon half split record of 1:50:09.  I was very pleased.  This is exactly where I will need to be to BQ when my time comes.  Right after I crossed the mat, I went to a walk and tried to find some relief in the pain.  I stopped to stretch, but nothing seemed to help.  I tried a few more times to run/walk, but nothing worked.  So, I started walking (once again...)

Ironically, I had a fast enough first half that it took walking all the way until mile 19 until it was no longer possible for a sub-4 hour finish time.  I walked through the Animal Kingdom, which would have been pretty cool if it didn't hurt so much.  It was getting pretty cold walking and by mile 20 I could hardly walk anymore.  I pulled off to the medical tent and took some tylenol, rubbed myself with bio-freeze, and headed down with the guy to catch a ride back to the finish.  The walk was painful and it turned out the van had just left.  So, we went back to the medical tent and I underwent an extensive massage by a PT student.  She did a great job, but I still hurt too bad.  I borrowed a cell phone and called Eric to tell him I was done.  Then, I ended up in some pretty funny conversations with people on the lawn chairs.  One lady was dressed as Cinderella and we compared plantar faciitis stories.  She told me never to end up walking in the NYC marathon...the fans get really mean :-) I asked another woman what her injury was and she told me "I just had surgery two weeks ago and told my doctor I wouldn't run a marathon, so I thought I would stop at 20."  Seriously.  

After sitting there for well over an hour, some friends of ours walked by on the course.  I cheered for them and they waved.  They made the turn-around and on their way back, they stopped and made me get back on the course.  It wasn't a hard decision since it turned out there was no van coming for me.  I walked with them for a mile and then they took off running.  I had to walk through the remaining parks (Universal Studios and Epcot).  It was a really hard walk.  I was hurting too much to be walking, but didn't really know what else to do.  People were giving me the pity cheer...which I really can't stand to hear anymore.  One lady cheered "Come on Erin, make your magic today!"  Gotta love Disney.  These people are way too happy :-)  

I finally made it to the finish and walked once again across the mat.  I decided this was it.  No more of these walking finishes.  I don't register for marathons to finish them - I do it to run as fast as I can to the finish line.  Immediately after the finish line, Eric found me and reached through the fence to hand me a rose.  That was pretty great :-)  It turned out that he had no money to buy it and had to beg the woman to give it to him for free.  She told him to "Have a magical day!"  It helped me get through the long walk to my medal and through the food tents and out the back of the finish area.  I got ice wrapped to my knee and hobbled to the bag check.  
A little bummed, but man am I glad that's over!

I found everyone and learned that Paul had finished with a stellar 3:47 and Ieva had come in 20 seconds behind me.  They were both so happy and I was incredibly proud of them both!  

Red carpet!

Now I need a new plan :-)  We'll see what happens.  I'm pretty worn out and spent the rest of the vacation limping around.  I'm just tired of the same ending to this story.  Fargo was great and I know I can repeat it faster.  I just need things to work.  This is not a great start to my 50 state journey, but I have been having fun and learning from it, so time has not been wasted :-)  Four states down...46 to go!  
Event: Walt Disney World Marathon
Place: Orlando, FL
Theme Song: "Still Waiting" - Sum 41
Date: Sunday, January 82012
Time: 5:39am
Official Splits:
5 Mile Split0:41:37
10 Mile Split1:23:51
Half Split1:50:09
20 Mile Split3:19:13
Final Time:  6:08:27

Friday, January 6, 2012

Marathon #4: Pre-race Thoughts

January 6, 2012:  Pre-race Thoughts
So obviously I am running Disney this weekend!  I did not think I would heal in time to make this a worthy event, but here I am feeling "good enough" to run a marathon.  I still have some injuries, but nothing that is big enough to stop me.  I do sometimes wonder what exactly it will take to stop me :-)

I haven't exactly trained for this race.  I did not follow a training plan or get concerned if I missed a workout.  I only ran a handful of LSDs - 12/15/18/12 - and spent most of my time on my new bike in the basement.  Maybe less training is the key!

I've attempted to wrap my head around this one.  I'm trying to get mentally prepared for this race while at the same time trying not to think about it.  So, this is the "race who must not be named".  Which is appropriate since I'll be running by the Harry Potter theme park.  I want to run my best this race, but I am not sure if my injuries will allow it.  They might stop me completely in my tracks.  I have absolutely no idea how this will unfold.  It's kind of exciting that way I guess!  

My plane leaves early tomorrow morning and the kids are going to Nana's I'm going to put on my compression socks, kick back, and enjoy some peace!  I am also looking forward to starting the race with my brother Paul.  Our last marathon together resulted in us not even seeing each other that day.  This Sunday, I'm on him like glue.  He has a sub 3:50 goal in mind and barring any injuries and any overly confident runners that shouldn't have lined up in front of us, that should not be a problem.  My goal is only to finish with a smile on my face and save my speed for Brookings.  

My theme song chosen for this race is "Still Waiting" by Sum 41.  I am "still waiting" for the marathon in which all the stars are aligned, I am completely healthy, and I am able to perform at my full potential.  I look forward to that race....I just don't know when it will be :-)