Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Goofy Challenge Recap - Half Marathon

For those of you who like the details, here is the recap of the Walt Disney World half marathon.

The trip to Florida went really well. I got on a shuttle bus to Salt Lake early on Thursday morning (after a 4:30am wake up call so I could get a 5 mile run in, shower, and get the kids off to school). After a couple of hours of hanging out at the airport I met up with my friend M., and then we were on the flight to Orlando. It was after midnight when we finally got to our room at Disney's Pop Century resort (which I loved!) and we got to sleep pretty quickly after the long day of traveling.

On Friday morning I got up and did a nice and easy four mile run. The sun was shining, the temps were warm, and I was so happy to be running in shorts and a t-shirt. My body felt great and it was exciting to be so close to race day(s).

After shower and breakfast, M. and I went over to the expo, which was insanely crowded. The packet and bib pick-up all went very quickly and smoothly, but I was pretty disappointed at how little Disney merchandise there was, especially in smaller sizes. All I wanted was a Goofy hoodie and all they had was XL on the morning of the second day of a 3-day expo. Bummer!

We had a  yummy lunch at Planet Hollywood (I stuck to my pasta plan since that has done me well in the past) and then we got back to the hotel and got off our feet and settled in for an early night since we had a VERY early wake up call coming.

Since I am such a wimp running in heat, I am glad that the Disney races start nice and early (5:30 am), when the air is cool and before the Florida sun gets up, but with the time change, the early start was pretty rough. We had to be out of the hotel room by 3am to get the shuttle to Epcot. When I set my watch alarm for 1:45am Florida time, I realized that that was 11:45pm Wyoming time. ICK!!

But we got up on time and I was feeling good. My nerves were minimal and I was excited to race. I have to say that putting on that Brooks uniform was SO exciting. When I first got it I put it on and didn't want to take it off. :)
Me and M on the bus on the way to Epcot on the morning of the half marathon!
 We got to Epcot, checked our bags, met up with some of M's friends (who were great!), and started the shuffle to the start. At Disney you have a 20 or so minute (slow) walk to the corrals from the area where you check your bags. I was COLD (teeth chattering, body shivering) despite wearing throw-away sweats. As soon  as I started running though I felt good and the sun was just barely coming up when I finished (just after 7am) so the temps were PERFECT for racing.

My only real concern was that despite there being PLENTY of portapotties, I was not able to use them! Let's just say that the time change had my body all sorts of confused. I was worried that my stomach would be crampy and I would have to stop during the race and lose valuable time, but I decided not to panic and to just go out and run strong and do the best I could.

I was in the A corral which was pretty cool! I have to say that running in the A corral made running Disney races a lot more fun for me. Last year when I was in the C corral the first few miles were super crowded and it was really tough to find my pace and run. Later on in the course it wasn't always crowded but when we went through parks and made turns it would get very congested and I was forced to slow down significantly multiple times. In the A corral that wasn't an issue at all, with the exception of the first mile of the half marathon.

For the first mile things were pretty congested. I couldn't really see my Garmin because it was dark, but I knew I wasn't running the 7:10 pace I was hoping to be running. The first mile ended up being at an 8:02 pace which was frustrating, but I was able to get to my target pace from there and the rest of the race was awesome.

mile 1 - 8:02
mile 2 - 7:04
mile 3 - 7:08
mile 4 - 7:04
mile 5 - 7:10
mile 6 - 7:19
mile 7 - 7:05
mile 8 - 7:15
mile 9 - 7:10
mile 10 - 7:15
mile 11 - 7:12
mile 12 - 7:08
mile 13 - 7:06
final .1 - 5:55 (final sprint hit pace of 4:56)
Final time - 1:35:23

All I can say is that I felt GREAT the entire race. I felt fast. I felt strong. It was FUN. Running through Epcot and Magic Kingdom was a blast and the crowds were great. I couldn't believe how many people were out cheering at 5:30 in the morning!

I haven't trained for a half specifically and I didn't really have a strategy or plan, other than go out and run my target pace. I didn't "go for it" much the last few miles because I knew I had to race again the next day, but I can see how a half would be fun to race.

When it got hard to hold the pace and my body wanted to slow down, I kept reminding myself that Bart Yasso said that I have a runner's body and look like I am built to run fast. "Built to run fast. Built to run fast. Bart Yasso said I am built to run fast." That was my mantra for this race. Even though there were moments where it was harder to hold the pace, I felt strong the whole way.

I told myself I wasn't going to sprint the finish because I knew I had to run a marathon the next day, but there were two ladies ahead of me and one I was pretty sure was in my age group, and there were two guys ahead of me and my Amanda loves it when I "beat the boys", so I sprinted and got past them. There were not a lot of runners finishing so we got lots of cheers. It was crazy fun. (And I am pretty sure that sprinting to the finish got me the 9th in my age group).

This race was definitely a hard effort, but was not an all-out effort. I was thrilled when I finished and had stuck to my plan. My goal was to run right around 1:35 (sub 1:37) without completely wiping myself out, and I did exactly that. My stomach was GREAT. It felt awesome until mile 11 or so, and then it wasn't too bad and I was able to finish without stopping or feeling bad at all. Hooray!

I took one Hammer gel at around mile 6, and drank a little bit of water from the aid stations. (No breakfast before).

When I finished I got my medal (Donald Duck - super cool) and then went and got my bag, stretched, put on a sweatshirt, changed my shoes, ate, and drank. I waited for M. to finish and had fun chatting with other runners. I've said it before and I'll say it again... Runners are cool. :)

M. finished and I was SO proud of her! It was her first half marathon and she did such a great job!

My plan for after the half was to immediately start recovering, refueling, and resting up for the marathon the next day, and to not do much else but recover, refuel, and rest for the rest of the day. I wanted to put myself in the best position possible to race the best marathon possible.

I went to a fun lunch at Downtown Disney where I got to meet Robin and her sister,  Lindsay and her husband, Jennifer B., and some other fun ladies. After lunch, Robin and Kelli walked with me back to Planet Hollywood so I could get some more of the pasta I had had the night before to take back to my hotel for dinner, and then we separated and I went back to my hotel room to recover and rest.
Me and Robin, friend and fellow Brooks team mate!

Me and Jennifer!

M was out having fun with her friends at the parks since their races were done, so I had the hotel room to myself. There was no wi-fi and there was nothing on TV, so I catnapped and talked on the phone. I wore my compression tights, ate my pasta, set out my stuff for the morning, stretched and rolled, and went to bed super early for another 1:45am/11:45pm wake up call.

My legs definitely felt tired, but there was no awful soreness and no aches or pains, so I went to bed not knowing what to expect the next morning, but feeling cautiously optimistic that I would be able to run a strong marathon the day after a running a strong half marathon.

Race Day #2/Marathon recap coming soon!


robinbb said...

Congrats congrats! I loved reading your race report. You are such an inspiration to me. During my race I kept thinking about how hard you run during races and knew that I could push myself. It was a pleasure meeting you this past weekend and can't wait to see you at Boston this year!

emlizalmo said...

Hurry, hurry. I can't wait to read more! I could seriously read this stuff all day. :)

Jen said...

Awesome recap :) Can't wait to read more!

giraffy said...

1. Disney is NO JOKE with their early wake up calls! When I ran Princess, my H stayed awake in Cali to call and wish me good luck before I left ;)
2. I'm always disappointed in the quantity of RunDisney merch available. I'm in fact taking an extended lunch break to run to the Tinker Bell expo the day it opens so I can hopefully snag the Coast to Coast tee I want.
3. 4:56 pace?!?!?
4. Congrats to M on her first Half!
5. I spy a Team Sparkle skirt!
6. I wasn't a fan of the Donald renderings that I saw when they announced the medals, but I kind of love it...

abbi said...

Loved reading your recap and can't wait to read about day 2. Congrats!

Becky said...

Great recap! You ARE built to run fast, and you are definitely doing it. I can't imagine placing 9th in my age group, let alone at such a HUGE race! Congrats!!

Michelle said...

Those time changes are rough but you handled them like a champ! :) Love eating at Planet Hollywood and hanging out in Downtown Disney.....can't wait for the marathon recap.

Lacey Sue said...

Such a wonderful recap!!! Thank you for sharing it!! The race sounds wonderful- I can only dream about doing it someday ;)! So glad you had a happy strong race ;)!

Suz and Allan said...

Great job!

Laura said...

I love reading race reports... awesome that you were feeling strong the whole time, that's the best kind of race! Great mantra, too. But wow, I can't get past how early you all had to wake up!!

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

Great job! I bet getting to be in the A corral was awesome after the C corral! That would be a hard time to get up in the morning. Congrats can't wait to read about the marathon!

Terzah said...

That just sounds like flat out fun. Thanks for posting this--looking forward to chapter 2.

Nicole said...

Great job and great recap! Can't wait for the marathon recap!

Lizzard said...

WoW!! Amazing! :) Thanks for the detailed recap. And soooo proud of you!!!

christa said...

Great Job!!

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

5:30 AM race start?! Wow that's wicked early! My body would have had no idea what was going on. haha

Awesome job with your pacing and a HUGE congrats on PRing on your way to the Goofy finish. I'm really hoping to run this next year.

lindsay said...

You did an awesome job! I am pretty jealous of Bart's compliment to you. It was great to meet you!

Julia said...

wonderful amazing job!!! and you look GORGEOUS in your photos! i admire you for having a plan and sticking with it...believing in yourself the entire way!