Saturday, October 9, 2010

Race Report

Despite a bout with strep throat, I did run my half marathon last weekend. By Friday, I was feeling pretty good and on race-day I felt great. We left home at 5:00 in the morning to drive to Orlando. We had to check in at the Wide World of Sports complex, and got to spend some time exploring the booths filled with running gear for sale.

The race started at 10:00 p.m. with fire works at the starting line. We ran from the Wide World of Sports down to Animal Kingdom. There were bands and Disney characters along the roadside cheering us on. It was definitely entertaining. We were off at a decent pace and I was feeling pretty good as we entered the Animal Kingdom. Again, we saw characters and plenty of Disney "cast-members" in the park.

Shortly after we exited the park, at around mile 5, I started to feel a little funny. It was like a toy whose batteries were running low. We stopped and walked a minute while I ate a little bit of a power bar. From there, I went downhill. I continued running, but I was cold and clammy. By the time we ran into the Hollywood Studios, I was looking as bad as I felt. I had to take a walk break at least once or twice for each mile. My throat didn't hurt, my body didn't hurt, I didn't feel sick to my stomach. I just felt like a car running on fumes. I couldn't always run in a straight line. At one point, a cast-member asked me if I needed help. Thankfully, my friend stuck with me the entire race, so I felt confident pushing on.

By mile 10, I knew there was no way I was even going to come close to meeting my time goal. My running buddy and I had seen the same two women dressed as Minnie Mouse along the entire race course, and she told me that even if she had to drag me across the finish line, we were not going to get beat by those mice! That motivated me. I still couldn't run more than a few minutes at a time without feeling faint, but we kept the mice in our sights. When we finally entered Epcot, the finish line was less than a half mile away. I managed to find some reserve of energy and I think I ran the whole time we were in Epcot. I definitely started sprinting when I saw the finish line.

My official time was 2:20:53, the same as my friend. I was so glad to see the photos from the finish showing us crossing the line together. If it had not been for her, I probably would have dropped out around mile 7. And yes, we did pass the mice during our final surge.

This has been an amazing journey. I will say that the training and preparation meant more to me than the race itself. I have come out of this experience a stronger, more balanced person. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be running a half-marathon, I would have laughed.

Had I been able to run healthy, I would have considered this goal finished. But I want to know what I can do under optimal conditions. I am planning on trying a half marathon again in December. When I finish that (hopefully healthy and able to run the whole way), then I'll put the "13.1" sticker on my car.

Also coming up on the agenda: a full marathon in February! I am registered and start training in a few weeks. Details to come...