Friday, January 16, 2009

disney half marathon (goofy challenge) recap

after a hectic day of traveling and a delicious dinner at macaroni grill, i finally dozed off for a brief nap around 11pm friday night. saturday morning came quickly, and i was up-and-at-'em by 2:45 in the morning. the race was supposed to start at 5:50 and race organizers had been saying to get on a shuttle no later than 4:00am.

i checked the weather and realized that although the forecasts i'd read all week said 70, it was going to be a little cooler at 6am and once again i did not pack appropriately. i ended up wearing one of my race shirts (the one for the half) since they are all tech long-sleeves. it's still dorky of course (in my opinion) but it seems to be my lucky charm. jess was so kind as to wear hers too so we could be dorky together, and obviously there were other folks wearing theirs as well.

j and i left to pick up jess from her hotel at 3:45ish. when we got down to the car i realized i forgot my bib number and had to run back up to the room. we scooped up jess and got to the race site around 4:00am (only 2 hours until race time), parked in a sweet parking spot right next to the pre-/post-race festivities site. (like 3 spots from the entryway!) we stood around for a bit, then hopped in line for the port-a-potty and hoped it would tide me over until after the race. (thankfully, it did.)

got a text from denise @ rundmt while i was port-a-pottying. went and found her, she is so cool! (you are so cool denise!) she had way more energy than i did for 4-something in the morning. she told us that disney collects all the clothing discarded by the runners, washes it, and distributes it to local homeless shelters. i wish i had known that in advance so i could've worn something to donate. (sorry, but i kinda want my race shirt.)

jess, j and i hung around a bit more and then jess and i decided we should probably head over to the start since we didn't really know where it was. they just kept announcing "please proceed behind baggage check and there will be a lighted path to take you to the start". they conveniently left off the fact that it's a mile walk. alright, it's probably not really a mile, but it wasn't all that close either. the walk warmed my muscles and probably helped me out a little since i still neglect to actually warm up before a race.

j went off to where they said spectators could watch (which ended up being the other side of the divided-highway from where we actually ran so all those people couldn’t really see who they were cheering for), and then after the start he went and camped out in the car. there wasn’t any way for him to get to another view point and back to the finish with my lightning speed. har har.

jess and i herded over the start with everyone else, found our corral (a! for awesome, duh) and we were actually really close up to the start. it only took 20 seconds or so to cross the start line from the gun (/fireworks). (brian i remember seeing the 1:40 balloons in front of us as we waited at the start but i do not remember when i passed the group. i was looking for "brian's" on bibs in the corral and "a runner's blog" on the back's of shirts i passed though!) mickey, minnie, donald and goofy got up on stage and counted us down to the start of the race and i took off.

i love how much easier a 7:15-ish pace feels in a race compared to my tempo runs. i’ve been struggling to run my tempo runs lately at a 7:41-ish, but in this race a 7:15 was no biggie. i never felt tired; i remained strong, clear-headed, focused and relaxed. it was a-ma-zing.

the first four miles were on the highway-like roads, dark and kind of boring, but there were random people/groups providing music and they had some spotlights set up to help light the way. my stomach was empty when the race started. i mean grumbling, completely empty, and i was worrying about draining my glycogen stores too early on in the race. i’d brought 2 gu roctane’s (one vanilla orange and one blueberry pomegranate). since i was so hungry, i took the blue-pom really early on, about 20 minutes into the race, which helped make the grumbly feeling going away. i had my mind set on these things being magical and they didn’t let me down. each time i took one my spirits were lifted, my upper body became more fluid, my legs were given a second life. when i took the vanilla orange around mile 9-ish, my legs were just starting to feel fatigued, but the gu roctane kicked in and carried me home. it seriously felt like i had changed into a new pair of legs. and, in my opinion, vanilla orange is even more delicious than blue-pom, but i’m still a little prejudice to the word “pomegranate” since i still don’t know what that is.

there were two guys in red shirts running right in front of me for the first mile, and when we hit the one mile sign they commented to each other on the pace (~7:30) and picked it up a hair, so i decided to try to hang with them. i stuck with them for a bit, but then it seemed like they were going too fast and i fell back a little. i caught back up to them pretty easily and hung with them until mile 10. there was also a kid running a really sweet pace for a middle schooler. i’d guess 6th or 7th grade but i have no idea how old kids look. we traded the lead a few times and i ended up beating him, sorry kid. i’d been telling myself that the last 5k has to feel like a 5k so i picked it up and left the kid and the red shirt dudes in the dust. i started counting people i picked off to help motivate me to keep pushing; it was starting to hurt a little. (i met my initial goal of 10 people but then lost count.) in the last half-mile i passed the united kingdom guy, sporting his extremely short, uk flag shorts and singlet. (we’d seen him pre-race, kind of hard to miss those ridiculously short shorts.) i also passed a handful of other guys (mwah ha ha, beat by a girl… just kidding) and kicked it hard to the finish.

i didn’t pay much attention to the surroundings throughout the race because i’m not coordinated enough to sight-see and run fast-ish at the same time. i do remember cruising through the castle though. a chick in a hansons-brooks singlet was running near me and tripped on the uneven bricks (but didn’t wipe out). i’m probably laughing in the shot of me exiting the castle. i’m assuming she isn’t really on the team because i beat her, and there's no way i beat a true member of the team.

after crossing the finish, i got my space blanket, donald medal, a couple bananas and made my way to the goofy tent to have my half bracelet replaced with the one for the full. the post-race area was so empty i was able to just stand in an open area and keep an eye out for both jess and j. jess came through the tent after a little while and was so giddy. she's been battling plantar fasciitis since we ran baltimore (2006) and didn't exactly train for the goofy. somehow she still pulled out a 1:46 / 4:09 -ish in the races. she's insane. we eventually saw j making his way over from the finish line and he asked me when i finished; he didn't even see me come in. :( oh well.

the half was a lot of fun and well-organized by disney. the course was mostly flat, with the occasional highway-ramp incline, but they weren't bad at all. it was cool to run through magic kingdom but most of the race was getting to and from the park. still, it was fun, and i'm totally thrilled with my time and cooperation from my legs throughout the weekend.

clock time - 1:34:40
chip time - 1:34:13
overall - 180/12440
gender - 30/7180
age group - 5/515

mile splits and hr
mile 1 - 7:31, 170
mile 2 -7:15, 174
mile 3 - 7:17, 176
mile 4 - 7:17, 177
mile 5 - 7:11, 180
mile 6 & 7 - 14:22, 181
mile 8 - 7:07, 181
mile 9 - 7:09, 181
mile 10 - 7:19, 179
mile 11 & 12 - 14:16, 179
mile 13 - 6:44, 183

*big thanks to devon at outside pr and gu energy for hooking me up with a great product that really helped me through these two long days of running. i'm definitely hooked!


  1. WOW. Congratulations on an absolutely blazing half marathon!!! That's FAST. Great race report!!

  2. Awesome race report, you did amazing! :D

  3. Awesome time, great race report, fun fun pics!!

    This really sounds like a must-do :)

  4. You really did such an amazing job! Great race report. Way to finish strong. Oh, and fun pictures too. Rest up and take it easy.

  5. That's not fast-ISH, that's FAST! Congrats on such a strong race. Sounds like you felt great the entire time and that is just awesome! Your dedicated training totally paid off.

  6. awesome time on that race! congrats!

  7. Hey, this isn't such a bad race report. If you had copied mine, you would have finished 4 minutes slower, so that's no good.

    I do plan on sticking with Daniels. I'm following one of his 5K plans for this spring (although slightly abbreviated). Not sure what I'm doing this summer other than "running", then I'll start his elite marathon plan in the fall for a February 2010 full marathon.

    I wouldn't get too caught up in rules. I think the main message of the book is to understand why you do the various types of runs, then be somewhat flexible within the general training plan. I think you've already demonstrated you're capable of that.

  8. Great race report, fantastic time and awesome race pics below. I'd love to do this race some day. You certainly made it sound like fun!

  9. Great race report! You did awesome. I need to do that race sometime.

  10. I love how you dusted the guys in red shirts! And awesome that you beat the kid. I seem to always be losing to the 10 year olds!!!

    The pictures are great, I feel like I was there with you!

  11. P.S. I think we ran this one together. ...except for the fact you were miles ahead of me from the beginning! But hey, even I remember the UK guy. LOL.

    I was just running the half though - my first one! So jealous you ran the Goofy though - that's totally hardcore!

  12. Whoops - last comment "Amanda B. Young" was my alterego. :-)