I woke up on Sunday morning at 1:45am, and carefully stepped out of bed to see how my legs felt. Big sigh of relief - they felt pretty good! I tip-toed around and got ready in the bathroom since M. was sleeping, it was insanely early, and I didn't want to wake her up. :) I got ready to race for the second day in row, and was feeling pretty calm and ready. I slipped out of the hotel room just at 3am and as I walked in the quiet morning from the hotel room to the bus, I prayed for strength and protection, and thanked my Heavenly Father for the opportunities I have and the amazing life I have (and especially for the people in it). I soon found myself back on the shuttle bus and back at Epcot (where the Disney races start).
There was something comforting and calming about having just done the same routine the day before. I knew exactly where to go, exactly what I needed, exactly what to do, etc. Again, I was not super nervous, although I was pretty anxious to just get running and get it done. I was anxious to see how I would feel and if I would be able to run a strong race as I hoped to do.
I met up with Robin and her sister and it was really fun to have some familiar faces, and to have someone to talk to during the wait and the walk to the corrals. Robin and I walked up to the A Corral together, chatting all the way. It wasn't long after we got in there that the race started. We were off before I knew it!
I did not feel as much of the crowding for the first mile as I had the day before, and I was able to hit my target pace of 7:30 and get into a good groove after about half a mile. My legs did not feel sore or stiff, and for the first few miles all I could think was, "I am doing it! I am doing it! I PR'ed yesterday, and I am running a marathon today. I am hitting my paces. I am doing it!"
My splits for the first eight miles were 7:50, 7:23, 7:32, 7:25, 7:32, 7:29, 7:29, 7:32.
I enjoyed the Disney characters, entertainment, and fun and enjoyed the open course but excitement of the other runners. I didn't mind the dark and quiet sections either. During those sections I felt calm and focused.
Right around mile seven my stomach started to hurt, and I knew that the good luck I had had the day before was not going to hold out for a second day. I wanted to get as far as I could before making a pit stop because I REALLY did not want to give up any time on the clock, but by mile nine I had no choice. (This was just before going into the Magic Kingdom).
I was in and out really quickly (love that there are no potty lines when you start near the front of the race) and I was still feeling pretty good at this point overall.
But somewhere around mile 10-11, my body started to fight me. My stomach started hurting and cramping again, and all of a sudden my legs felt like tree trunks... big, heavy, tree trunks. I did not have any cramps or pains, but they just felt heavy and TIRED. I felt really sick and it was just tough going.
I took my Hammer gels every five miles as planned because I knew I needed to get the energy in me, and I kept taking little sips of my Perpetuem and water from the aid stations.
And for the rest of the race it was hard. My stomach finally settled down but still felt sort of icky, my legs were really not happy with me, and it was frustrating to know that I had lost over four minutes on the clock because of stomach problems.
When you are feeling that worn out, your mind messes with you. A not so little voice in my head would say things like, "You PR'ed yesterday. No one expects you to PR again today. There is no shame in taking it easy now. It wouldn't hurt to just walk for a minute. You can PR in Boston. Many of the Goofy runners are just doing this for fun, not for time. You can't get a PR now anyway after stopping three times." Etc. etc. etc.
I also kept thinking of that stupid quote, "If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal." (thanks so much Rob de Castella). That voice in my head kept wanting to shout, "I feel bad at mile 10! I am in trouble!"
I had to just tell myself to shut up. The thought that I kept having was that I COULD do it, and that I had come too far to give up now. "You've come too far... you've come too far...don't quit now...don't quit now....just keep running...just keep running....you are strong... you are strong"
I never walked. I never stopped running. I never gave up. I never quit. It truly was the hardest thing I have ever done physically. Normally in marathons I get a big boost at mile 23 and feel excited and awesome going in to the finish. This time it was just a battle all the way across the finish line. In fact one of the awesome spectators (the spectators were SO great!) yelled, "You are almost there!" at mile 23 and I seriously wanted to tell him to shut up and explain that three miles was feeling like a really long way. Ha! (I didn't say anything though).
I still enjoyed all the Disney characters and entertainment, and running through the parks, and I tried to soak it all in.
The weather was just a tiny bit warmer than the day before (pretty perfect racing temps), although it was getting a bit warm for my liking the last few miles. I was really grateful to be done by 9am, and felt bad for the runners out there longer because it got pretty warm quickly after that.
My splits from miles 17-26 were 7:39, 7:35, 7:46, 7:59, 7:42, 8:01, 8:16, 7:59, 8:13, 8:15. And for the .2 my pace was 7:40 with a final kick of 6:14.
All three medals are AWESOME. The back of the Goofy medal says, "One marathon. One half-marathon. Two days. Four theme parks. 39.3 miles."
I walked back to get my bag and started stretching and getting fluids in me. It was so great to get my phone and have texts from Pam and Josh, and congrats from friends.
My times were posted to Twitter and Facebook, and Josh and my parents got the results via text messages, so it was REALLY fun to check my phone and get all of the congrats and kind words. It was a little sad to finish something so BIG and emotional and not have anyone there to cheer for me or hug me, so to get my phone from my gear bag and have so many great messages was really uplifting and made it a lot less lonely. BOTH mornings my mom was the very first one to text me, which was perfect. (Josh was two hours behind with the time change but checked his phone and texted/called the second he woke up both mornings). I am so grateful for the love and support I get from family and friends. Thank you again to all of you who took a few seconds to send me a message. I was grinning from ear to ear with each message. It meant so much!
After just a little while, Robin came in and we celebrated together and congratulated each other. We were both just riding high on excitement and happiness. We stretched, changed, ate, and waited for her sister who also did a great job, and then I let them have some sister time and headed back to the hotel.
M. had gotten some much-needed sleep, and was up when I got back at around 9:30am. She took a couple of pics for me, and got me some big bags of much needed ice. I used my foam roller, took an ice bath, and then took a hot shower. We got some lunch, and then I was ready to PLAY!
|back at the hotel, showing off my Disney bling!|
|Me and M in front of Tree of Life at Animal Kingdom|
|How beautiful is the castle in icicle lights?? I loved, loved, loved this.|
After a fun and full day at Epcot I was exhausted though, so when the rest of the group decided to to to Hollywood Studios for a few hours at 8pm, I decided to go back to the hotel to pack and rest.
Once again, M and I were up obnoxiously early on Tuesday morning. The alarm went off at 2:40 and we were out of the hotel room by 3:55 am. Our flight left at 7:15am, Josh and Noah picked me up at the airport in Salt Lake at about 10:30am mountain time, and I was finally home sweet home at about 2:15pm.
It was an incredible and fun weekend and an experience I am very grateful to have had, but home is where I belong and where I am happy to be. I am so grateful to Josh for being so encouraging and supportive of my running, and for being so willing to stay at home and "hold down the fort". I am also so grateful for my kids. They are the greatest kids ever. They all did great while I was gone, but I so missed my family and wish they all could have been there. It has been great to be home again and to get settled back in.
I will have one more post with some final "Goofy" thoughts coming soon.