Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Disney half marathon

Last weekend I ran my first half-marathon as part of Disney's Marathon Weekend. We drove down to Florida on Thursday and went to the race expo on Friday where I got my race number, timing chip and goody bag. The Expo was very good and there were a lot of interesting vendors. After going to the Expo in the morning, we went Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park where we went on the Tower of Terror, DH rode Rock 'n Roller Coaster (I am not a coaster person) and we went on the back lot tour, rode Star Tours and saw Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. Afterwards, we went out of pizza at Giordano's and called it a day.

The next morning, I had a very early 3:15 wake up call. The night before I had set out my outfit for the day (running tights, long sleeved tee, vest, number belt, hat, socks, Road ID) and breakfast items. I drank a some Camelbak Elixir and then ate an English muffin with peanut butter while waiting to get on the bus and carried a banana and water with me for later. We were told to be on the bus by 4:00 and I made it well before the cut off (3:45?).

Every day leading up to the race, the forecast became more bleak. With eight days to go the consensus temperatures for the half marathon, based on the 1/1 forecast, was 6AM Start: 44, 10AM: 50, Noon: 58. With six days to go Consensus Temps for Half Marathon Based on Current (1/4) Forecast: 6AM Start: 29, 10AM: 40, Noon: 50.

Five days to go, the Disney Running forums were reporting, "We are looking at a series of near-record cold days for the Orlando area. Citrus crops are in severe danger as the cold will linger for the next week with only a slight break as it warms up (with possible showers) a bit around Friday, only to be followed with another Arctic blast Friday night."

Four days to go and the forecast continues to worsen, now precipitation is appearing in some of the forecasts. "We are looking at a series of quite cold days for the Orlando/Disney Marathon area this weekend. Dress warm for the 4AM-6AM wait at the start. Use multiple layers with windbreaker/garbage bag outside and throw-away sweatpants and sweatshirts ($6 at WalMart). Clothes tossed away at start or on route go to charity. Remember hat, gloves & Chapstick. Prepare properly & everything will be fine! National Weather Service experts remain uncertain about the chance for showers on Saturday."

Three days to go and still more talk about the chance and timing of showers. The Disney Running forums reported:
From National Weather Service, this kind of startling quote: "CAN'T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH JUST HOW NASTY OF A DAY SATURDAY WILL BE".

Weather Channel says "Showers early becoming less numerous later in the day. Snow or sleet may mix in early. High 42F. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60%."
Finally, one day to go and Disney Running wrote: "Consensus Weather Forecast, 1 Day Til Full - Saturday 1/9 Update
OK we all pretty much now the story by now, so I'll make this quick. Wouldn't you know it, probably the coldest, rawest temps of the entire year for Orlando will be exactly at the start of this race. Oh well… for the northerners it'll be like back home!"
The predictions were true. Cold and sleet.

Dropped off sweat pants and jacket in the baggage check for after the race and waited at race finish area until 5:00 or so when they opened the gates and had us walk down a trail to the starting corrals.

Once we arrived at the starting area, there was a series of starting corrals with bouncers there to make sure that you did not go into the wrong corral. I was in corral B. They had several l large monitors in the starting area with hosts providing entertainment. They kept on talking about cold and sleet and I wished they would stop reminding me.

Shortly before the it was time for Wave 1 to start, I found my pace group and shortly after that, the wheelchair racers started. I tossed the towel that I used alternately as a shawl and seat cushion. I peeled off my $3 sweat suit and tossed the pants to the edge of the road. I kept the jacket with me as a shawl until the last second and tossed that as well.

There were fireworks to start the wave and we were off! As I expected, I was as warm before the first mile was completed. My pace group was slow at this point and we picked it up a bit here.

The best part was running through Magic Kingdom, especially Main Street U.S.A., Cinderella Castle and Frontierland.

There were several marching bands playing on the course and a choir as we entered Epcot.

By mile 11 I was starting the get cold -- I'm not sure if I was just so wet by then that I was getting cold or if I was getting fatigued -- and by mile 12 my hands and lips were quite cold. We were nearing Epcot and the finish line. As we made the turn toward Epcot, I nearly tripped on a traffic cone. I knocked the cone over and someone yelled out, "Good save!"


After crossing the finish line, I was handed a silver Mylar blanket and MEDAL! I love my Donald Duck medal!

Then we were shuffled towards a photo are and a snack area (banana, orange, raisins, muffin, soda, water). Then there was a long long long very chilly wait at baggage check.

Once I had my bag, I exited the runner's only area and entered the family reunion area where I found out that I had made my time goal! Before the race, I set up DH's cell phone to text him every time an electronic time split was recorded.

I was very chilly and put on my sweat pants and a rain jacket that I had packed. Since the weather was so bad, we decided to head back to the hotel so we took the shuttle back to Pop Century where I warmed up. When we got back to the hotel, Weather Channel said the current temperature was 30 degrees. No wonder I felt cold!

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