Sunday, January 07, 2007

Today I Became a Marathoner!!!!

As MarathonChris crosses the finish line of her first marathon, she is met by her faithful support team.

“So, Chris, you just finished your first marathon! What are you going to do next?”
“I’m going to Disney W… oh wait, I am already here!”

Today truly was a magical day!!!

Race summary:

The Walt Disney World Marathon
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Time: 6:00 am
Weather at start: 64.4 deg F. / 100% humidity
Weather at finish: 75.2 deg F. / 83.5% humidity
Finish time: 5 hours 47 min 27 sec / 13:15 min/mile pace

Full Race Report:

Although I had requested a 3 am wakeup call, I woke up at 2:20 am and never really fell back to sleep. So at 2:50 am I rose to prepare for the race.

At 3:35 I took a bus from the Dolphin hotel to the race start. There, the Epcot Imagine parking lot was brightly lit and spotlights were waving at the sky. The walk from the bus to the staging area was about a half mile. There you could get coffee, Tylenol, water and other items. I found a spot on the ground and sat down to relax until it was time to go to the starting area (about 40 minutes).

At about 4:45, the group moved toward the starting corrals. This was another .6 mile walk. A row of portapotties was close to the starting corrals. Since the lines were already forming, and it was already 5 am, I got in line to get in one more bathroom break before the race. I was in Corral C (the 5 hour+ corral). I found the Cliff Bar 5:30 pace group and joined them. Perhaps I could keep up with them for the race. The pace leader Sharon did a great job prepping our group before the race. Up at the starting line (a good 200 yds away) there were large viewing screens and speakers throughout the corral area so that all could be seen and heard through all through the corrals. At 6 am, the start was highlighted by a countdown followed by fireworks and loud music. We were finally off! It took about 7 mins to get to the starting line from where I started. Our pace group leader did an excellent job keeping us slow in the first few miles. She had a good plan and was executing it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going stay with the group very long.

In spite of my earlier bathroom break, I already needed to go again (I hydrated well with the expected warm weather). I waited until around mile 3 and used a restroom in Epcot. I tried to build a lead from the 5:30 pace group so I could find them again – but I was never able to catch up with them after that bathroom break. I tried for several miles to catch them, but couldn’t do it. I think my mistake was trying to catch that pace group. I probably expended more energy in the initial miles doing that, instead of conserving for later. I didn’t really give up on catching them until almost halfway through the race. At that point, I knew that I needed to conserve my energy for later.

The run through Epcot is always a treat. It is still dark but the streets are lit up as well as the globe in the lagoon. Inspirational music is also played. We ran around a good portion of the World Showcase before exiting the park and running past the start area again at mile 4.

The first timed split for the race came just before we entered the Magic Kingdom at mile 10. I reached mile 10 at 2:12:17, a 13:13 pace. The run down Main Street USA as the early morning sun began to shine was simply “magical.” I wanted to cry because I couldn’t believe I was finally running the marathon! I felt great. We then ran through Tomorrowland, around behind and then through Cinderella’s castle where I tried to make sure I posed for the camera men there. After that it was through Frontierland and out of the park, through the back lot where the floats for the parade are kept.

Shortly after leaving the Magic Kingdom, we hit the halfway mark, the second timed split for the race. I reached mile 13.1 at 2:50:43, a 13:01 pace.

The next leg of the race took us along some back roads, by a few hotels and into a back entrance of Animal Kingdom. My family was going to meet me inside Animal Kingdom around mile 17. My husband called me at around mile 14 (I had a cell phone on me) and I let him know my pace was about on schedule. We coordinated a meeting point so I knew where to look for them.

Just after mile 17 and the big yellow brontosaurus in DinoLand, my family was waiting on the side with a camera along with signs with “Go, Mommy, Go” and big cheering smiles!!! There were lots of hugs and kisses, a dry visor, extra gels, a couple of Ginseng supplements and a switch in sunglasses before I was back on my way. My husband’s “I Love You” had that look of “I am so proud of you” in it as well. It made my day! Off I continued with some new found energy.

My clever family actually saw me 3 more times. They met me along the way as I exited Animal Kingdom – beating me to the exit area. They then drove by me as they were leaving the parking lot. Finally, as we were running down the road with the lane on the right side of the road open for traffic, they drove by one more time. The best line of the entire race happened there. My husband, who was a passenger in our friend’s car, leaned out the window as far as he could and yelled out, “I love you MarathonChris!!!” Then seeing all the other runners looking at him, he yelled, “I love all of you, too!” After that they drove off to meet me at the finish line. By now I had reached mile 19 and the heat of the day was starting to affect me. Mile 20 seemed pretty hard but I reached that split at 4:20:51, at a 13:02 min/mile pace. I think I made some time after that visit at Animal Kingdom.

The hardest stretch of the entire race was coming up, and the sun was well into the sky. Between mile 20 and mile 23, the race headed toward Wide World of Sports in a down and back loop – nothing but highway and no trees. I had figured this would be hard and I was not disappointed! At this point, I had to put on some upbeat tunes on my iPod and just “zoned out” a bit. It helped carry me down the road a bit.

Somewhere between mile 22 and 23 I hit the wall. At this point, both feet hurt, my legs hurt, and when my walking breaks were over, starting up my run again nearly brought me to tears (more from effort than from pain). The miles from there through 25 were really hard. I managed to run more than I was walking, but my walking breaks came often. The crowd support from around mile 24 on was really good. At about this point, the volunteers were finally giving away ice on the course. I put the ice pack on my neck, chest, put a few in my shirt and popped one in my mouth before giving up the bag. This seemed to wake me up and helped propel me to mile 25 and the re-entry into Epcot, where I had passed that 25 mile sign just about 5 hours earlier in the dark. In the last mile of the race, I tried to visualize the last mile of my runs on Lockwood Blvd. I tried to run the entire distance but just didn’t have the energy to do it without the breaks. I did run most of the distance around the World Showcase, ran through Mile 26, took a short break during the last .2 miles and then poured on what was left as we left Epcot and approached the grandstand at the finish line in the Imagine parking lot. I sprinted through the finish and as I crossed the finish line I let out a scream. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!! I had finished in 5:47:26, a 13:15 min/mile. I had finished my first marathon. I AM A MARATHONER!!

Now, to come up with a new name for my blog!!! :-)


Susan said...

I am almost in tears as I type this. I loved your account of you first marathon, you MARATHONER you! I am so proud!!! I have a million questions for you, and I will compose them all tomorrow. Get some rest, you MARATHON gal!!!

Adam said...

WOO HAA! Way to go girl. You are such an inspiration to all that will follow you. Thanks for sharing such an incredible story. So let me be the first to ask...




PLANET3RRY said...

Wonderful job. It sounded like you had a very good run!

Awesome! Now it's time to just bask in the sun as a Marathoner while the soreness in your legs dissipate.


Nigel Staffordshire said...

What a fantastic achievement !!!!

Well done, have a good rest - you deserve it.

Congratulations !


ShirleyPerly said...

I'm so proud of you Chris! You did great under those grueling conditions. Enjoy your well-earned post-race recovery. Isn't that Mickey Mouse medal cool?

Maddy said...

Congratulations! I was rooting for you! I thought about your journey on Saturday when I ran the half!

Way to go Chris!

Jamie said...

Way to go Chris!!!! Looked for you at the race, but well SOOO MANY PEOPLE! Really happy for your fantastic finish, and I'm sure you felt as proud as I did when crossing finish line!


Leah said...

your story it awesome! it brought me to tears. it sounds like you could overcome any adversity!

dpeach said...

Great job!

I have not been reading regularly, but Adam at Burning 20 has mentioned you quite a bit. Good to see your story at

Enjoy the moment.

CT Kirks said...

Great work. I am relatively new to the sport and have the '08 Disney Marathon on my calendar. It will be my first Marathon and I am really looking forward to it. I hope to be able to have a very similar post to my blog as yours. I was very much inspired by your account.

Again, congratulations.

shadwell said...

Awesome!!! This is my ultimate goal, running to Disney marathon. You are very inspiring. I have questions, too. But I'll go dry my eyes now.

FFMarathon said...

Thanks again for the story Chris!

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