Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Disney's Inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon Race Report

When Disney decided to turn the Race for the Taste 10K into a half marathon with a relay, my husband and I saw this as the perfect chance to:

a) get in a race without too much training (since we were splitting the distance)
b) enjoy the Epcot Food and Wine festival
c) run a Disney race LATE at night (instead of in the wee hours of the day)
d) enjoy an Inaugural race and possibly become part of a crowd that will run it every year
e) be part of the first relay run locally (that I know of)

My husband would run the first 5.1 miles and I would run the last 8 miles. Start time was 10 pm so our projected finish was sometime around 12:30 to 12:45 (depending on how soon he got across the start line and how crowded the course was. I had a good feeling we could run the race together in 2:30.

We would party at the finish line festival in Epcot until 3 am and then crash at our hotel room at the Port Orleans French Quarter resort.

We treated this time away from the kids as a pre-20th anniversary weekend!

After ditching the kids (one was off marching elsewhere in the state, the other one off with friends to an Octoberfest event) we checked in at our hotel around 3 pm Saturday. We napped for a couple of hours since we were going to be up late, then walked over to Port Orleans Riverside for dinner before boarding a bus at 6:15 pm for the starting area at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. We were quite early, but we wanted to beat the crowds. The field where we waited to start would have been a nice place to picnic (note to self for next year).
Lots of porta potties and no lines - yet. There would be lines later.

This picture shows how empty it was around 7 pm.

We took some time to just rest up since my bus to the exchange point at Animal Kingdom didn't leave until 8:30 pm.

Arrived at the Animal Kingdom parking lot exchange area around 9 or 9:15 pm (how does it take 45 minutes for that drive - we can almost run it faster!). Again lots of sitting and relaxing before the race. As much as the DJ's tried to get everyone up and dancing around, we were resting!

I am usually not one to get character pictures but I decided to kill some wait time by getting a picture with Pluto.

The race started - there was an announcement at the exchange area that the start did happen, however I had been hoping that they would show a video of the start on the big screen (recommendation for next year) so we could see the fireworks and get excited at the race start!

Then we waited until the time we thought our relay partners would arrive and then got into the exchange corrals. My husband came in at 54:33 when I met him, took his flashlight baton, walked with him in the exchange area, then took off on my run. Our transition time was under 2 minutes.

I did stop for one other character pic because, amazingly, there was NO line next to Darth Vader!

For my portion of the race, most of the course was pretty unexciting, some places really dark, not much entertainment on the course like in the marathon, but we spent LOTS of time running around Hollywood Studios - and that was fun!

It was a bit warm and the breeze we had earlier was long gone, but I felt good and kept up a good pace. I was shooting for a team finish of 2:30. After Hollywood Studios it was like the end of the marathon, a trip down the sidewalk along the water along the Boardwalk, then into the back entrance of Disney, except that is where the race ended. My run of 8 miles (actually I ran slightly more than 8 miles and husband ran less than 5 miles - Garmin had me at 8.41 miles) took 1:33:40 giving us a total time of 2:30:09!

The finish area was a bit disappointing for a few reasons. First, they had the finisher medal picture area, but no way for a team picture to be taken since the area was cordoned off for the finishing runners only. Then we had to go through a tent to get our bag and get into Epcot and it was crowded and stiffling hot. Some folks were getting sick from standing in the heat after having run for the past 2.5 hours.

The next disappointment was the mob scene inside Epcot. Disney had sold tickets to the finish line party to anyone who wanted them. And folks took advantage of the $35 entry to the Food and Wine festival. The result was a way overcrowded Epcot with long lines to the food. Many runners left to get food at the hotel. We hung around and got food from about 6 countries with short lines in the 2 hours we were there. Late finishers got little or nothing. This will definitely have to be different.

Still, we enjoyed food, wine and even another character picture with Mulan.

The bling was great, as usual.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finally, an update!

I have definitely been running since the end of March - which is the good news! But, like many of you, things have been busy and blogging has taken a back seat.

This is a quick update on what I have been up to.

April started out with some relaxing days out at Paynes Prairie Preserve - one of our favorite camp grounds. We got a chance to see some wild horses, deer and woodpeckers among other species. A campfire is usually just what the doctor ordered for relaxation! With Easter break, we got to spend an extended weekend!

The next big event was the local Corporate 5K. For the 8th year in a row I served as team captain for TeamSAIC. We had 70 employees, associates and family members come out and support the event at Orlando's Lake Eola. We had great weather - cooler with some clouds and a breeze - which made for a comfortable event. My older daughter and I ran-walked the race together for a 38 minute finish. Except for a little fender bender before the race, we survived without too much damage!

After a week attending a local technical conference an presenting a paper, I had a chance to attend the Kids House Gala held at UCF. There my husband and I had a chance to meet Roger Hodgson, the former lead singer for Supertramp who performed for the gala.

The very next afternoon we celebrated my older daughter's 15th birthday with a bowling party at Firk and Kelger's. A fun time was had by all!

Another week at a different local technical conference and yet another presentation, then a weekend of wedding festivities with some good family friends (local, thankfully). My husband was an usher for the wedding. The mother of the groom stayed with us and I made sure she got to the wedding on time! Everything went off with a hitch!

We got a week off from major events - only a soccer game to attend and time spent preparing our house for the following weekend - my husband's graduation from UCF - Summa Cum Laude - an endeavor that has been many years in the making!

We attended the ceremony with a live webcast playing back at our house for family and friends who couldn't go because we didn't have enough tickets. Then back to our place for the festivities!!

This past weekend was the Jim Payne Blue Ribbon Run for the Kids 5K which benefited Kids House. I have been part of the planning committee and spend the afternoon working the race! The weather was quite warm and some of our runners were pretty toasty when they reached the finish line, but the event was a great success, drawing over 1100 runners in its second year.

I think that catches me up! In the middle of all of this, I still managed to log 79 miles in April and so far 50 miles in May. I just passed 400 miles for the year. I have done so much better this year than previous years keeping my base mileage at a good level (15-25 miles a week). I am not training for any particular race right now - just adjusting to running in the heat again. Today is the first time in awhile I have needed to bring my full Fuel Belt on an 8 mile run.

Tomorrow I start summer school...Engineering Statistics. That should keep me from blogging too much this summer. Hope your running is going well this spring and into summer! I will be "seeing" you out there on the roads with more running adventures to come!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Running in Monterey

At the turnaround point of my Monterey Peninsula run.

Last week while on a business trip to Monterey, CA I got a chance to get a couple of runs in on the Monterey Peninsula Trail. I was staying on Wave St. along Cannery Row so the trail was a half block from the hotel - basically right across the street.

Running west, the cement trail turns to asphalt and dirt, then entirely dirt trail - following the shoreline.

On my first run, I went 2.5 miles in this direction before turning around for my return and took a few pictures and a video along the way.

My second run was in the easterly direction toward Fisherman's Wharf - less trail and more cement but interesting sights anyway!

The temperatures were quite cool (almost cold) with temps in the mid to upper 50s and breezy. It felt great in my short sleeves while running - but once I stopped running I had to quickly get inside and warm up.

After my second run, I quickly drove over to the other side of the peninsula to catch a beautiful CA sunset!

It is good to be home, but I will certainly miss running along the beach!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A New 10K PR and Pacing

Shirley and I after the race - both with shiny new PRs!
The Winter Park Road Race is usually the next race I focus on after running the Disney Marathon. For the past couple of years, my training had not gone so well - so I was thrilled that I had some great training in my buildup to the race and my best chance at a PR. My tempo runs showed I had a PR in me - my stretch goal was to try to bust 1 hour. Breaching the 1 hour mark was not in the cards for me today - but I am not disappointed because I felt like I ran a good race overall.....and had a 2:32 PR!

I got to the race early (around 6:30) so I could get a good parking spot. The 2 mile run was set to start at 7 am so I was a little worried I might not be early enough - but I got a decent parking spot and headed over toward the race area. It was cool this morning, about 53 deg F - and although my long sleeve shirt felt nice, I knew I wouldn't need it for the race, so I took the marathon approach, ditched the long sleeves and stuck with my short sleeve shirt along with a thin plastic rain poncho (a little more fashionable than the standard garbage bag). Most folks braved it without a poncho or bag...I did see one person with a bag on. Still, I was warmer and happier with my poncho.

I stopped by the Orlando Running Club tent and said a quick hello to Kitzzy who was transitioning from biking mode (she rode her bike around 5 miles to the race) to running mode. She then headed for the 2 mile start area (she ran both the 2 mile run AND the 10K!). After that I wandered around a bit, ran into a running friend from work, then made one more porta potty stop before lining up.

Given my anticipated finish time of around 1 hour, I lined up just behind the 9 min/mi sign. About 5 min before the race start I ditched the rain poncho. Then we were off!

My plan: Don't go out too fast (shoot for around 10 min for first mile) and treat it like my 5 mile tempo runs. Also part of the plan - iPod shuffle with a 180 bpm Podrunner mix.

It was a good plan. I hit the first mile at about 9:45 - not too bad. Mile 2 came around 19:33. I was behind a sub 1 hour pace but I didn't have the energy to push my pace anymore. I didn't want to run out of gas at mile 3 or 4 so I focused on running comfortably hard with my 180 bpm turnover. There were 3 water stops and I took water at all of them. The second stop is right before mile 4 so I took a Clif Shot there and made sure I drank enough to wash it down. The last water stop was around mile 5 or just after. Other than the water stops, I didn't take any walking breaks. When I got tired, I shortened my stride but maintained my turnover.

Just at the mile 4 water stop a woman ran by me and was just telling someone that I was her pacer! Then she said to hurry up so I could pace some more. I was right there so I ran up and agreed to keep the pace up and went ahead. The next time I saw her was a bit after mile 5. I had started to speed up but then bonked a bit and was having trouble keeping my pace going. She ran by and said I needed to keep it going. I told her that maybe she could pace for a bit since I was a bit out of gas. She said she would try and plugged on ahead. I worked to keep up with her. It was a nice diversion during mile 5. Coming around the corner at about mile 6 I passed her again.

At mile 6, you can see the finish line up ahead for the 0.2 mile stretch. I decided to go for it and picked up the pace - I was almost done! It was tough to hold the pace though - my stomach was starting to turn, but I kept telling myself that it would be done in less than a minute! And then, it was over.

1:01:25 - a 2:32 PR over my last PR 2 years ago.

Shirley was at the finish to meet me. Then the pacing lady came up behind me and greeted me. She introduced herself (I forgot her name AND I should have gotten a picture) and thanked me for pacing her to a 4 min PR. I thanked her for getting me through the end of the race as well.

I am happy with the results - a great PR time with the 1 hour goal out there for another day (perhaps on a flatter, straighter, brickless course). I felt like I didn't go out too hard, I maintained pace but didn't kill myself in the middle, and I finished strong. I can't think of anything else I would have done differently to try to finish faster.

My next race is the Corporate 5K. I am trying to decide whether to train to run a faster 5K time or to not run it at all and spend the time cheering on the other runners and taking lots of pics (I am the team captain). Given my training I would most likely have a shot at a 5K PR, however, this is not a timed race AND there are only about 10K other folks there - I would be weaving and avoiding folks the entire time. I would like to put my time up as one of the fastest women on our team....but it would be fun to run it again with my daughter. I have a month to decide! :-)

Hope everyone had great runs out there this weekend! I am going to slack off and take tomorrow off!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Sub-1 hour 10K??

Note the dead palm tree out in front of my house....when the cold is finally gone those dead leaves are coming off!!

I think I might have a sub-1 hour 10K in me....

So I am putting it out there for this weekend's Winter Park Road Race.

Unless something unusual happens, I will PR this weekend (current PR is 1:03:57).

If I have a really good day, I think I can bust 1 hour. That is a 9:39 min/mi pace which I think I can maintain. That is, as long as I don't use my usual 10K strategy, which from the comments on Shirley's blog, a number of other folks use. It's the "go out too hard and try to survive" approach to 10Ks. What I really want to do is go out easier, negative split, and finish strong. I do it on my 5 milers all the time, so this should be a no brainer.

I just need to watch the start....I think I will focus on mental training for the rest of this week! :-)

Race report Sat or Sun we shall see!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cold Weather Running in Florida

This has been a really interesting running season for me. I suppose the Disney races set the pace for me, because going out for a run in 40 deg weather doesn't seem like such a big deal anymore. In fact, I am enjoying the heck out of running in the chilly air. It is going to be tough when it warms up in a couple of months - for now I will enjoy it while I can.

During my long run this past week I crossed the 4000 mile mark for miles I have logged since I started logging back in 2006. It has been a super journey. I have met so many interesting folks, blogged and podcasted my way through some challenging times, and now - four years later - I am continuing to grow and enjoy the thrill of the journey.

Thanks for coming along, and be sure to enjoy your own running adventures!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Husky Trot 5K

It was a beautiful sunny morning with temps around 55 deg F for today's Husky Trot 5K. This is the 5th running of this race to raise money for my daughter's HS athletic department.

Since my daughter hasn't been training at all, I set my watch to beep once a minute and we ran 2 min and walked 1 min for the 3.1 miles. The last .1 mile is on the school track where you finish by running through the inflatable Husky.

We had a great time chatting and running together! We finished in 37:31 min.

Monday, February 01, 2010

2010 Running Goals

With Disney behind me and 2009 in the books, it is time to look forward to 2010 goals.

I was sharing with Maddy as we ran the Disney half marathon that I didn’t want to run Boston unless I qualified. I also told her that my best shot at a BQ was to live long enough and still be running until I can qualify.

My sub-5 hr marathon at Disney is a BQ if I was 70 years old.

For my age group of 45 – 49, I would need to hit 4 hours to qualify for Boston. That would be a 9:11 min/mi pace. Now I am not saying that it is impossible for me to run a sub 4 hour race. I probably couldn’t do it training the same way I do right now.

Let me be clear, a BQ is NOT a 2010 goal for me. This year’s achievable goal is to work on my speed and get faster. Instead, I think I will target running a 5K (or even a 10K) at a BQ pace. At 9:11 min/mi pace that would be a 28:32 5K. Now that is something I can shoot for!

My plan is to work on speed during the spring running season, and then begin to build endurance during the summer. I am hoping to consult my unofficial running coach ShirleyPerly to get advice on training for these goals. I am considering weight training and possibly some cross training (swimming during the summer months). I have already added a tempo run or intervals once a week. My target race for a PR this spring is the Winter Park Road Race in March. I think I have a good shot at breaking my 1:03:57 PR. I have about 5 weeks left to train – and I am feeling recovered from Disney. My target race for a BQ paced 5K is probably the Autumn Rock n Run 5K.

After WPRR, my training for the fall will depend on which races I decide I will run. I am currently not planning on a fall marathon. I will focus on better times for the Miracle Mile 15K in Sept and the UCF 5 Miler in October. I am also planning on running the Inaugural Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Disney on October 2nd . My husband and I are going to run it as a team (one runs 5.1 miles the other runs 8 miles). And unlike the Disney marathon races where I get up at 2 am for a 5:40 am start, this race starts at 10 pm - meaning we won't be finishing until after midnight! Then we join the party at Epcot and crash at a Disney hotel!

I also plan on being the co-captain for my Corporate 5K team for our April race and to volunteer for the Kids House 5K in May and one other race during the year.

Target races:

Race 1-3: Disney Dopey – Jan. 9-11 (DONE!)
Race 4: Husky Trot 5K – Feb 6 – benefits my daughter’s HS
Race 5: Winter Park Road Race (10K) – March 13 – Going for a PR
Race 6: Wounded Warrior 5K – April 10 - great cause!
Race 7: Corporate 5K – April 15 - Co-captain company team
Race 8: Run for Water (UCF) 6K – April 18 – Water for Haiti and in my backyard
Race 9: Jim Payne Blue Ribbon Run 5K – May 15 - I may just volunteer for this one
Race 10: Autumn Rock n Run 5K – Sept - May go for my 5K at BQ pace here
Race 11: Miracle Mile 15K - Sept
Race 12: Wine and Dine Half Marathon – Oct 2 – new race, running with hubby
Race 13: UCF 5 Miler & 2 Mile – Oct 9
Race 14: OUC Half Marathon – Early Dec - warm up race for Disney Marathon 2011 and possible PR

So in summary:

1. Run faster this year: A 5K at BQ pace (9:11) for my age group.
2. PR for the 10K distance.
3. Volunteer for at least 2 races and coordinate my corporate 5K team.

2010 is going to be a great year!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

2009 Running Recap

My new running year is a bit off the calendar….kind of like corporate fiscal years. My annual running ends after the Disney Marathon which is held the 2nd weekend of January. Now that Disney is behind me, I can look back on how things went in 2009.

2009 Running Goals:

Like last year, I looked back and could not find my running goals for 2009. I did find that things got insanely busy early last year and my running fell off for the first 4 months or so of the year. In general, my goal was to be out there running – focus on a single marathon (Disney) and do what I could in my other races. Later in the year, I decided I wanted to break 30 min in a timed 5K race, PR for a half marathon, and PR for the marathon at Disney. Maybe my goals are too easy since I accomplished all of them!

2009 Running Achievements:

I ran a total of 953 miles in 2009. I missed my goal to break 1000 miles but I was happy with the volume of running I maintained beginning in August.
My average weekly miles = 18.3 with my highest week = 45
My average monthly miles = 79 with my highest month = 154 (Nov)
My average long run pace in the fall was about 11:15 min/mile (last 20 miler before Disney was 11:06 pace)

I ran 10 races in 2009:
Races 1 and 2: 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend running Goofy. The Goofy Race and a Half Challenge included running the half marathon on Sat (2:39) and the full marathon on Sun (5:41). I ran these races with my husband where our goal was to finish strong. The very next day we signed up for 2010 Goofy and the 5K (Dopey).

Race 3: Winter Park Road Race (10K) – My training for this race did not go as planned so I had no illusions of running a PR. I still ran a respectable 1:05:10.

Race 4: Corporate 5K – This is not a timed race, but I recall running this one in around 31 or 32 minutes. It is difficult to run a fast time in a field of over 6000 runners! This one is more for the fun of bringing my work associates together for a evening.

Race 5: Jim Payne Blue Ribbon Run for the Kids (5K) – This was a very special race because I was part of the planning committee for this event which benefits a charity I work with. This was conceived over 2 years previous and finally came to fruition. We couldn’t have asked for better participation for an inaugural race with over 900 runners registered. I ran it with my daughter and together we finished just under 40 minutes.

Race 6: Autumn Rock n Run 5K – This race was held on my birthday and I was determined to bust 30 minutes in a timed 5K race. My good running friend Maddy came to watch me run my 5K PR!

Race 7: Miracle Mile 15K – I didn’t run a PR on this race but I ran a strong, consistent race (1:42). It was a bit warm that day (as it typically is in late Sept) but I felt good about my race results.

Race 8: UCF 5 Miler & 2 Mile Race (Distance Dare) – The local race sponsor Track Shack recently added the “Distance Dare” to certain races they sponsor with multiple distances. Runners have the option to run multiple races on the same day. I normally run the UCF 5 Miler but added the 2 Mile race as well and ran them both. Just days before the race I caught a nasty chest cold but by race time I was good for a nice and easy run. I finished the 5 miler in 56:58 and the 2 mile race in 22:05.

Race 9: Race for the Cure 5K (Bandit) – Initially I was planning on running this race as a registered attendee. After sponsoring Maddy who was running this race in memory of her mom I decided to show up on race day and see if I could “participate.” Maddy and I were going to do a 16 mile long run together which incorporated the 5K race. I thought I could register that morning but was unable to, so I ran it “bandit” with Maddy. Maddy and I went on to finish a total of 12 miles together, running a few miles before the race, running the race, then running after the race.

Race 10: OUC Half Marathon – My training during the fall had gone extremely well and my paces were faster than ever. I had a couple of choices for this race – take it easy and include the 18 mile long run the week before, or go for a PR by running 12 instead of 18 the week before. Shirley let me know that I could ease off, run the PR, then jump back in to prep for Disney. She pointed out that the momentum from a PR at OUC would be a great accomplishment to build on going into Disney. With that I ran a PR (by more than 2 min) by finishing in 2:18:21.

2009 started out slowly but was a great running year. And from my previous blog entries, 2010 started out with a bang. My 2010 running goals are already captured and I will post in my next blog entry!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2010 WDW Marathon Weekend - Part 4: The Marathon

As I was sharing with someone about my run of the Disney World Marathon today, I told her that I hadn't had much sleep in the few days leading up to the race, I was a bit worn from running in the cold on Sat and I had a headache when I got up to get ready for the race. But some days you feel crappy when you go out to run and then end up having a great run - sometimes you feel great but the run doesn't go so well. All you can do is get out there and let the run be what it will be. This run, my friends, was something else!!!

Like Sat morning, the early morning started out cold - even colder than the previous day, although without the rain and sleet. I could go with the cold with out the rain! We still had the issue of the wind, which made for a bit of a wind chill, but Sat taught me more about how to dress for the race. I was actually a bit warm at times running on Sat, so for Sun I wore the same get up except I left off the tights and just wore the capris. I knew I would warm up once I got going.

My husband wisely decided to pass on attempting the marathon. Since he really hadn't trained, he was already feeling the affects after finishing the 5K and half marathon (no small feat to begin with) and thought that even walking the marathon would lead to a miserable recovery week. So I set off on my own to drive to the race. I did snag his wrist band to the runner's retreat which I offered up to Maddy. I got to the Epcot parking area about the same time as the previous day - 3:30 am and headed inside for breakfast and race prep. Maddy joined me a little after 4 am.

Maddy and I were, once again, bundled up to stay warm in the corral. This time, in addition to my running gear, I wore an old pair of sweats (shirt and pants) over my running clothes, sported my fashionable garbage bag and brought along my mylar blanket from Sat. I was just fine except for my toes, which I couldn't feel after awhile. When we got ready to start, I shed it all except the stuff I was going to wear for the entire race.

With a great training season, I knew I had a shot at a PR. However, I had not trained in the cold so I had no idea if it would have a positive or negative affect on my pace. This is part of what I love about long distance runs....you don't really know until you are in it!!

With that, just before the gun Maddy and I hugged and wished each other luck and I was off on my own. I had an interesting plan. Negative splits don't seem to work well for me. I was worried that I would start easy and slow later - losing my overall desired pace. So I did what you probably shouldn't - I started off at a more ambitious pace of 11:00 min/mi (but one I had been training with well) and tried to hold it as long as I could. A contributer to the pace was taking less walking breaks. I had trained to take a 1 min walking break each mile. For the race I was going to walk 1 min at the water stops. I also wanted to build in a little extra time in case I needed a pit stop on the way.

I felt strong early on in the race, and although I did feel the urge to make a pit stop, that urge eventually went away which worked out well for my time! I definitely could feel the effects of the run from the previous day - I could feel the tiredness in my legs. I worried a bit about how long I would last - but I kept pushing on. My choice of clothes worked out well and by mile 1 I was warm and running easy. I couldn't feel my toes, however, until around mile 3 or 4! It was definitely nice not having sleet stinging my face.

We reached the Magic Kingdom shortly after mile 10. I enjoyed my usual run down Main Street USA with the crowd on the left side and Disney cast members cheering on the right. The trumpeters were there at the castle to herald us in and soon we were out the other side headed toward Frontierland. Mile 11 comes right as we left the Magic Kingdom.

The temperature seemed to get colder again after MK but I felt okay (I did lose the feeling in my toes again). About the halfway point, I began to feel a bit sore in the legs. I was wishing I felt a bit fresher at that part of the race but I was keeping a good pace. I was running at just over 11 min/mi and hit the halfway point at 2:25 - almost 10 minutes faster than the half marathon course PR I had set the day before. An interesting phenomena as a result of the cold was the ice. With temps in the mid 20s, the water stops became hazardous areas. Water spilled on the ground turned to ice and volunteers were having to spread sand around. We had Powerade slushies and ice water at the stops with the ice that formed in the cups!

Although I could feel the tiredness of the miles, the miles went by fairly well. At about mile 18, I started to feel my calves tighten and the tendon in my right foot began to pull. I had cramped up under my ribs and in my feet after finishing the half on Sat and I was concerned about cramping late in the marathon. As I felt the twinges, I kept pointing my toes and hoping that I could make it to the end without cramping up. And when it got a little tough, I thought about the wristbands I wear. I wear a Pray for Elijah band - Elijah Talley is a spunky young man who is battling neuroblastoma. His fight has been particularly tough over the past few months but he is hanging in there. If he can fight such a tough disease, I can run another mile! I also wear a Livestrong band to remind me of my Aunt who is battling lung cancer. I also think a lot about my mom who has emphysema and heart disease. She is out of breath just walking across the room. If she can hang in there for that, I can run another mile! I wish I could run their illnesses away...

As I got to mile 20, 21, I realized that I was well on pace for a sub-5 hour race. That thought also kept me moving. I entered Epcot just ahead of mile 25, and I started to cry....I was nearly done! And though I had a couple of minutes to spare for a 5 hour race, I didn't dare walk any more. I would never be able to live with myself if I missed beating 5 hours by 2 sec!!!

I check my time as I ran by the choir at mile 26...it was going to be sub 5 hours. Around the corner and there was the FINISH line!!! Mickey and Minnie were there to greet the runners. As I crossed the finish line, I let out a loud yell!!!! After crossing, exhausted from the last mile or so, someone called my name and came up behind me just after the finish line - it was Betsy Hughes, co-owner of Track Shack and one of the race directors for the Disney Marathon. She saw me finish and wanted to greet me! She was the first to congratulate me on the race!

As I walked to gather my Mickey medal and mylar blanket, I began to cry again. I don't know about you guys, but the emotions for the entire race, for the entire training season, just seem to hit me at the finish line. I headed to the Goofy tent and got my Goofy medal before making my way to the runner's retreat where I checked my official time: 4:57:14 (later updated to 4:57:12). I had to post to Facebook my triumph with a short entry: "4:57:14 baby!!! Done!"

By the time I had changed and gotten a bite, Maddy was already finished - running in 5:25. Amazing job after she admitted to me she hadn't trained so well for the race. Yes, we will be back next year. I am not planning on Goofy - probably "just" the marathon. I have to run in 2011....it will be my 5th Disney Marathon! And I don't want to miss all my Goofy friends who will be running it next year.