Monday, February 02, 2015

Disney Cruise - The Marathon

As you may have noticed from the numerous Facebook posts, I've been training for a marathon. Last summer Justin invited Mom and I to join them on a cruise. We couldn't think of anything better than spending ten days with our grand kids and in the Caribbean to boot. How could we not go? Justin then invited me to run with him in the Disney World Marathon which happened to be on the same day that we were to board the boat. I really enjoyed the last marathon so I thought that was a good idea as well.

The only problem with running a marathon is the numerous hours it takes to train properly. I suppose if I were twenty years younger I might get away without training but there is no way I could do that now. My last marathon took me 5 hours and 7 minutes and I was so upset that I didn't get under 5:00. I don't care if it is only 4:59 I just want to say 4 something instead of 5 something.

I was very diligent in my training and I was ready and quite confident that I would beat 5 hours. Well as luck would have it, the week leading up to the marathon I came down with the flu and a bad cough. I was so mad. I actually felt pretty good but I was congested and had a runny nose. I loaded up on vitamins and hoped for the best but alas, the morning of the marathon I still had the flu.

Mom and I caught our plane on Friday morning (January 9) and luckily we had a direct flight to Orlando. Justin signed up for the Goofy so he had to be in Orlando earlier in the day. The Goofy is if you run the half marathon on the Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. You really would need to be Goofy to do that. They also have a 10K on Friday and a 5K on Thursday and if you do all four you get a medal called the Dopey. Quite appropriate don't you think?

So if you run the half marathon you need to register by 7:00 the night before. Before we boarded our flights Kira texted us to let us know that their flights were all changed. When Mom and I landed we checked Kira and Justin's flight and there going to be landing in just a few minutes. There was no way he would be able to register by 7:00. We made our way to their gate and watched them walk off the plane. Justin was very worried about registering but he called and found out that they would let him register the next morning early so the poor boy who had been up all day had to get up the next morning at 4:00.

Because we were staying in the Disney Hotel we didn’t need to wait for our bags.  We simply boarded a very cool Disney bus and the Disney people picked up our bags and delivered them to our rooms for us. It was really nice.

Kira and Justin had ordered the Pirate package so when we got to our rooms their room had a cool surprise. It had been attacked by Pirates and the boys followed a treasure map to a small chest full of treasure. They loved it and it was neat.

The next morning Mom and Kira stayed with the kids and I went and cheered Justin on as he completed his half marathon. I thought Florida was supposed to be in the subtropics but it was pretty darned cold. I am really glad that I took my coat. I just about didn't.

Justin and I went back to our rooms and then we separated. Mom, Kira and the kids headed to the park and Justin and I went and registered for the marathon. 

We decided the kids might enjoy the Hollywood studios park the most so that is the park we went to for the rest of the day. They had some pretty cool rides and shows. My favorite one might have been the stunt cars. You would be amazed at what they can do.

Because Justin and I were running the marathon the next morning we didn't stay up too late on Saturday. I always have a very difficult time getting up early but because I was nervous and excited about the race, as soon as my alarm went off I was wide awake. I had all of my clothes laid out so I wouldn't wake up Mom and Cameron (Cameron slept with us every single night that we were together) and just as I was tying my shoes Justin gently tapped on my door and off we went.

The morning was much warmer than the day before and that is good because I was really worried about freezing. Justin is a much faster runner than I am so he was assigned the “F” corral as his starting position and me being much slower was assigned the “K” corral. Lucky for me, Justin figured that since he had already run a half marathon the day before he wasn’t going to set any speed records so he decided to run with me in the “K” corral. Coincidentally Justins friend Matt (who was on the cruise with us) was also in the “K” corral. He was also doing the Goofy. 

They started the race sending off a new corral about every five minutes. You knew when a corral went because they set off fireworks each time.  Finally it was our turn and off we went. 

This race was definitely much more crowded than the St George Marathon was.  It was so crowded that people had a signal for stopping. It was so packed that if someone just stopped running and started walking he would get ran right over by the people behind him. If you wanted to stop you would move over to the edge of the road, raise your hand high in the air so everyone could see you and then could start walking.  

I don’t know if it was good or bad but running with Justin inspired me. I ran quite a bit faster than I normally would. In my training runs I would start out around a 9:30 pace and gradually slow down to an 11:30 pace.  Justin kept trying to go faster but I held him back to a 9:30 but amazingly I kept it up until well past ten miles. As long as I didn't go faster than 9:30 I had no trouble keeping up the pace either. I loved it and it was a lot of fun running with Justin. He was high fiveing the crowds and he would stop and take pictures of the Disney characters that they had along the side of the roads every two or three miles. 

One of the best parts of the entire race was somewhere around mile 7. We came around the corner and there in the distance was Cinderellas castle. It was all lit up with icicle lights and it simply glowed and it seriously looked like it was covered in ice. As we ran through the castle there was Anna and Elsa standing on the balcony waving to us. I waved back to them and they waved directly at me. 

Of course I was focusing all of my energy on running but Justin was having a ball taking all kinds of pictures and texting updates to everyone. 

The next cool thing along the track was when we got to run around a race track. By race track I mean a track for cars. At one point on the track they had fancy cars parked along the side that we got to check out. They had antiques, race cars and just some really nice sports cars. 

One of my favorite character visits was the Disney Villains. 

Life was good until about the 15 mile mark. That is when I started to slow down a bit. I still felt great and I kept running but I was losing energy. I wanted to walk but Justin kept encouraging me and I held out pretty good until somewhere around mile 20. Nothing hurt and I had plenty of wind but I could hardly pick up my legs. I started a run walk routine where I would walk for a minute or two and then run for five or six minutes but it wasn't long before I was walking longer than I was running. 

We came to a baseball diamond and I mean a legit one like the pro's play on. We ran around the ball diamond and not just the bases but around the outfield. I forced my self to run around the diamond because it didn't seem right to walk around the diamond. 

The race started and ended in the Epcot center so as we entered the Epcot center I knew the end was near. I tried to pick up the pace a bit and of course there was no way I was going to be walking on the final stretch to the finish line. You can't imagine how cool it feels to come around the final bend and you can see the finish line in front of you and then off to the side is your family cheering you on. I love it. It almost brought me to tears. I am really glad that Justin was there beside me taking pictures. Unfortunately there are not pictures of Justin because he was the only one taking pictures. There are lots of pictures of me but none of him. I feel really bad about that but what can I say?

From there we ran arm in arm to the finish line. The official time for the run was 5:17. That is ten minutes longer than my St George run. It felt like I had done much worse than St George but I guess my strong first half saved me. I am convinced that the fact that I was running with the flu sapped away much of my energy. I want to be upset that I did worse but when I got sick I was afraid I wouldn't be able to run at all so in the end I just feel grateful that I was able to finish let alone run almost as fast as St George.  I suspect there will be another Marathon in my future.

Justin's medals are his half marathon, his full marathon and his Goofy medal. It is a #10 because this is the tenth year they have done the Goofy Challenge. I of course only have the one marathon medal and I will hang it up next to my St George medal. I am quite sure I will never have a Goofy. We did hear about a "Coast to Coast" challenge that you can get if you run the marathon in Disney World and then a half marathon in Disney Land within the same year. I think I am going to go for that one. 

Will Smith is now older than Uncle Phil was at the beginning of The Fresh Prince.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a fun race it was. It was great to run it with you Fred!