Posts Tagged by race track
|May 8, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Non-Disney Races|
I signed up for the Long Branch Half Marathon only a few weeks ago because had been looking for a flat, fast course where I could improve my time and this seemed perfect! I grew up in this area and my dad still lives there, so I had a place to stay and I was fairly familiar with the course. The finish line was also very special to me because it was right where B and I got married. So with little training and my fingers crossed, I signed up for my 5th half marathon!
The race was on Sunday, May 5th so B and I drove the 2 hours to the Shore on Saturday morning so I get to packet pick-up. The race expo was held at Monmouth Race Track, which was also the starting area for the race. The funny thing about this day was that the track was showing the live simulcast of the Kentucky Derby and the windows were open to take bets. Needless to say the crowd was an interesting mix of athletes and well, non-athletes… I had been to Monmouth Park many times in my youth as I used to love to watch the horses, but I guess I blocked out how small and dark it is in there. Kind of seedy… The expo had a good mix of vendors, but the area was very crowded so I just headed straight towards packet pick-up. As usual, I forgot to bring my waiver so I had to look up my bib number. Unlike Disney where you do this yourself on a computer, here they had a booth where someone did that for you. It was all very easy. I then headed to pick up my bib, get my spectator parking pass and my shirt. The whole process took less than 10 minutes. It was very well organized and a hassle free experience! We didn’t stay long because we were famished so I did a quick browse of the merch and took off.
We met my friend Stephen on the Asbury Park boardwalk for lunch. Considering all of the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, I was surprised to see that the boardwalk and some of the business were open. A good portion of the boardwalk had recently been replaced and you could even smell the new wood. I had wanted to get tacos at Pop’s Garage, but sadly that hadn’t reopened yet. So we went to a wonderful Italian restaurant called Stella Marina. YUM! I was so hungry that I forgot to take pictures, but I had a wonderful roast pork panini with arugula salad…perfect pre-race lunch! I definitely want to return here for a nice dinner one day. Oh and check out these awesome chandeliers! After lunch we made a quick stop at the grocery store for my morning supplies of bagels and bananas and then headed to my Dad’s to relax a bit. We all love to cook so everyone had a hand in dinner. We put together a healthy, pre-race meal of grilled BBQ chicken, roasted potatoes & cauliflower, tomato salad and avocado. YUM!!! After dinner we watched Silver Linings Playbook (which was one of the best films I’ve seen in a very long time!) and I headed to bed around 11. That 4:30 am alarm was about to come way too soon!
Full race recap coming up!
|January 31, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Race Recaps, runDisney Races, WDW Marathon Weekend|
Part 1 of my Walt Disney World Marathon recap left off just outside of Animal Kingdom. I was halfway through the race and still feeling really good. My friend Katherine (KO) found me just as we were leaving the parking lot at Mile 14. It was really great to see her and have someone to talk to. My iPod decided to die right when I turned it on, so I had been running with no music and no one to talk to this whole time.
We made our way onto Osceola Parkway and began the trek to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS). I had run Osceola during the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon so I knew I was in for a long haul. What I didn’t expect (since those 2 races are run at night) is how bad the sun was going to be during this stretch. It was almost 9:00 am and the sun was at full blast over the trees and there was barely any shade. We continued on with the 3/1 run/walk pace for a while, but I found that I needed to walk for longer periods of time. Osceola also has a ton of overpasses which means hills…not fun!
B and my mom were meeting me on Osceola right before we made the turn into WWOS and I couldn’t wait to see them! Just knowing they were there was making it easier to push through the heat. B took some fun photos while he was waiting…those cups are quite the sight!
I immediately dove into the bag I packed and grabbed more body glide to lube up under my sports bra (TMI again??). I was trying to avoid chafing at all costs…I have no shame and did that right on Osceola Parkway in front of thousands of my friends. I also switched out my sweaty headband, gave B my dead iPod, restocked my Gu, filled my water bottles and grabbed some crackers.
B said I was looking good at that point…totally the opposite to what I was starting to feel. I really wanted to just jump in the car with them and go grab a beer, but no…KO and I took off into WWOS. As we entered the complex there were sponges…ooohhh sponges! VoluntEARS were handing out sponges soaked in water that were the most amazing things EVER! I have to admit that when I first saw there were sponges on the course, I was a little grossed out by them but I was totally wrong…the cold water was perfect in that heat. I just wish I would’ve kept it for later in the race. Fail!
I won’t go into much detail about WWOS because the whole 3 miles spent in there was my demise. I really didn’t enjoy this part of the course. There was barely any shade, it was hot, humid and most of all it was boring. Around mile 18, my legs started getting sore and I was mentally starting to break down. This was the farthest I’d ever run (we won’t get into my lack of training here…that’s for another day) and the heat was beating me down. At least this guy was here to cheer me up a bit…
We ran through Champion Stadium and on to the mile 20 spectacular we heard so much about. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I felt like the spectacular wasn’t all that spectacular. Yes, the giant sized puppets were very cool, but I was more blown away by them when they were out during Wine & Dine when they were all lit up.
Don’t get me wrong, it was great to see Goofy, Mickey and Donald waving and greeting all of us and the 20 mile banner was pretty cool. I just think that between the heat and the oncoming exhausting I was looking forward to a SPECTACULAR and I just got a small party.
Ok, all that was left was a 10K…I could totally do that. It was a mental battle from here on out. Yes, my quads were screaming and I was starting to feel some blisters forming on my feet, but I could push through that. My goal was to just get through the next 2.5 miles to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and I knew that I could easily get through the rest.
These 2.5 miles sucked. You know that wall you always hear about…well I hit it here. I had nothing left in me. There were buses set up at mile 21 for people to get on who couldn’t go any further and I seriously considered hopping on, but I sucked it up and kept trucking. I had people counting on me to finish…I was counting on me to finish!! I need to thank my friend Cindy who was virtually cheering me on for the entire race…her encouragement really helped here!! How awesome is she?!?!
I was glad to see my favorite green army men on the on ramp to World Drive…they always make me laugh. Some runners were doing push ups with them which was awesome…I would’ve loved to partake and show off my hard work from CrossFit but I just didn’t have it in me. My friends Jenn & Danielle did though…bad ass ladies, bad ass!
Our friend Carrie caught up to us here and it was so great to see her! She was struggling as well, so we all tried to motivate each other to get through this last stretch of HOT highway! At the mile 22 water stop, I really slowed down to refuel. I don’t normally drink Powerade, but I knew with this heat that I had to make it a priority. From the beginning of the race I was taking a Powerade and a water at every stop and mixing them together. Early on I also took a salt packet at the recommendation of my CrossFit coach (thanks Jay!) and I think the combination of all of that really kept me hydrated through the race. I just had to force myself to keep drinking. Carrie & KO were a ways ahead of me and I motioned for them to keep going….I didn’t want to hold them back and I really needed to get my head back in the game.
Finally, my favorite hotel was in sight, the Hollywood Tower Hotel 🙂 This meant we were entering the Studios, this meant we were in the home stretch!
Just as we entered, there was a food station with chocolate! Normally I would’ve loved this, but I just couldn’t bare the thought of eating that in the heat. I would’ve loved an ice pop or something! We weren’t in the Studios for long, but it was just what I needed. Running down Hollywood Boulevard was amazing! The park was open to guests and they were cheering us on! We hadn’t had a good cheering squad since Champion Stadium and the energy here was perfect.
As I was leaving the Studios, I got a text from B checking in on me. People were coming across the finish line severely dehydrated and he wanted to make sure I kept drinking.
Apparently, I wanted to die because that’s the second person I told. Ha! Well something happened after this text…I got some sort of second wind! I popped my last Gu and headed down the the pathway to the Boardwalk. At the mile 24 water stop, the volunteers were giving “Dasani showers” by just pouring the bottle over our heads. BEST! This must have rejuvenated me because I picked up my speed and started really running again!
I was shocked to see Carrie and KO again as we passed the Beach Club…someone really lit a fire under my ass! I think they were just as shocked to see me too. KO decided to start running with me and Carrie just encouraged us to go on. We passed the last water stop and finally, we were in Epcot. This was it…I was almost there!
We had run into our friend Todd just before Epcot, who is part of the WDW Radio Running Team and he said the whole group was right in the UK cheering. And man were they cheering…that was awesome! My friends Jillian and Kelly were also there…I’m sure I looked to be in a very different state from when they saw me earlier in the Magic Kingdom. I almost ran over and grabbed Jillian’s beer, but I had to focus on this last mile. I was very close to the 7 hour mark and was determined to finish under that.
World Showcase was horrible. If you’ve ever walked around there on a warm day, you know it can be like the Bataan Death March. Now try doing that after running 25 miles…WORST! It felt like it was going on forever and ever and ever. But finally, we made it to Future World and I knew what was in store…my favorite gospel choir!
As I rounded the corner towards the Epcot parking lot for those last .2 miles, I was in shock. The amount of people who were there cheering was insanely overwhelming. It was nothing like I had ever seen before. It literally stopped me in my tracks and I became overwhelmed with emotion.
And there she was…the finish line. I had made it all 26.2 miles.
I crossed strong with tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe I actually just did that and to be honest, I still find it hard to believe. Running a marathon never seemed like a possibility to me. I’m an ex-smoker, I have ulcerative colitis, I’m clearly overweight…people like me don’t run marathons. Well guess what…I DID!!
I staggered over to the medal area to find my friend Aurora who was giving out medals. She actually found me first and put that beauty around my neck. She gave me a huge hug and I just started balling. Aurora had given me my first half marathon medal at Princess less than a year before and now she was giving me my first marathon medal. Couldn’t be anymore perfect than that.
I grabbed my food, a Powerade, 2 waters and set off to find my family. People were dropping like flies all around me from dehydration and the heat. They had a health official right after the water making everyone who passed her open up a bottle and take a drink or she wouldn’t let them pass. It was a little scary so I just kept on drinking to be safe.
I found my Mom first and she gave me a huge hug. I can’t say enough how important it was to me that she was there supporting me…it really made what I just did worth while to see the smile on her face. And then there is B…sigh. I can’t write this without tearing up because he has been the most amazingly supportive husband through this whole journey. He listens to all my craziness about running and travels with me to these races. He listens to me complain when my legs are sore and pours ice in my recovery bath even when I protest. He’s my #1 cheerleader. Oh and the best part, he had a beer waiting for me after the marathon 🙂
The family reunion area was hectic, but I did manage to run into Andy from Attractions Magazine. We had been talking a lot before the race since it was a first marathon for both of us, so it was great to see him!
We got on the bus back to the hotel and all I wanted to do was get in an ice bath and a shower! My official time was 6:55:13, almost an hour longer than I had hoped. But with all the challenges I faced (being sick, heat, humidity, etc…) I am just happy that I finished! I’m not sure I will ever do this again. The distance was just too long for me, but we’ll see. All I know is, I can officially say that I’m a marathoner and that’s pretty awesome 🙂
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media. My hotel expenses, meals and park admission were provided by Disney. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.
|January 29, 2013||Posted by Running at Disney under Race Recaps, runDisney Races, WDW Marathon Weekend|
So I left of in the days leading up to the marathon recovering from a cold and nervous as hell about this race. Oh…did I fail to mention that? Yeah, I was NERVOUS!
My alarm went off at the oh so lovely hour of 2:30 am and even though I only had 5 1/2 hours of sleep, I popped right up. I didn’t sleep very well and I think I was running purely on adrenaline. I stuck with my nutrition plan and made an english muffin with almond butter and a cup of green tea. I also downed one last cup of Emergen-C and took some immune system booster vitamins.
I was happy I took the time the night before to lay out all of my clothes and the supplies that I would need to get ready. It made getting ready much less stressful. I taped up my legs and hip flexor with KT Tape, slathered on a ton of Body Glide (TMI?) and got dressed. I made sure my fuel belts were stocked and recheck the bag of supplies I was having B bring me later in the race. I was as ready as I was going to be…let’s do this!
I met up with a bunch of other media folks in the lobby of the hotel and we hitched a ride over to the Epcot parking lot. We were given the unique opportunity to catch a glimpse of the starting line before any of the runners arrived. It was so cool to see the event staff getting set up and ready for those 25,000 runners to arrive. I’m a logistics geek…what can I say? We were also able to watch many of the pre-race interviews (sadly I didn’t get to interview Joey Fatone 🙁 ) and see the wheelchair racers get set up.
The runners started piling into the corrals and what was a ghost town one second was FULL the next. This meant it was time to get going. We were brought back to the starting corrals and patiently waited for the race to start.
Before I knew it, the National Anthem was being sung and the 20th Walt Disney World Marathon was minutes away from starting. The most moving thing I saw during the day happened during the National Anthem. Just behind me a man stoically raised an American flag and quietly stood there as the Anthem was being sung. I have no idea if he was a war veteran or just a very patriotic citizen, but it was an amazing show of patriotism. I was wondering what he did with the flag after the Anthem. Did he run the entire marathon with it?!
Before I knew it Mickey began the countdown, the fireworks went off and the marathon was underway. Please forgive the foul language in the following video…I couldn’t contain myself!
Before I got sick, my goal time to finish the race was 6 hours. I knew that this might not be a possibility now, plus I knew the weather was going to slow me down a bit. The forecast had been saying it was going to be in the low 80s with high humidity, which are less than ideal running conditions. I decided to go at my steady 3 minute run/ 1 minute walk pace for as long as I could and then just go with the flow. My goal on that day became to just finish.
The first 5 miles went by incredibly fast. I kept a steady 13 minute per mile pace and I was feeling really good! Call me crazy, but I actually enjoy that first stretch of World Drive after the first mile of the race. It’s flat and a great place to really get your stride. Oh and you have this great sight straight ahead, which always makes me run faster! (I apologize in advance for any blurry photos and video…I was movin’!!)
I was so excited to see Jack & Sally near the TTC, but the line had at least 20 people and I didn’t want to waste that much time. I decided that I wasn’t going to stop for character photos if the lines were long (most lines were very long!) because I knew I was going to need all of the time I could get on the back end.
The 5 mile marker was just outside of the Magic Kingdom and I crossed that at 1:07. I was feeling awesome and was so excited to get into the park! This was my favorite part of the Princess Half Marathon. When you enter Main Street USA and see all of those people cheering from you, you can’t help but get a little emotional. It’s quite amazing…
I was so excited to see the WDW Radio crew right ahead of me cheering like crazy! My friend Suzannah saw me and called out my name…it is so amazing to see a familiar face, so thank you Suzannah for that!
As I turned that corner to see Cinderella’s Castle, I couldn’t help but smile. They had kept the holiday lights on the castle just for the races…what a beautiful sight! Further down Main Street, I also saw my friends Jillian and Kelly. Jillian just ran her first half marathon the day before (congrats girl!) and it was so great to see her out there cheering all of us on 🙂
The course winds through a lot of the Magic Kingdom. From the hub you head right through Tomorrowland and through New Fantasyland where there are a TON of character meet and greets! Of course the best part of the Magic Kingdom is running through Cinderella’s Castle. And what better way to do it than to be greeted by trumpeters!!
From there we wound through Liberty Square where I saw this guy with the best costume of the day…full on Snow White!
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but the best thing about Disney races are the real bathrooms! When you go through any of the parks, all of the bathrooms are open so make sure to make a pit stop here instead of at one of the Portalets. My favorite restroom in the Magic Kingdom is the one between Frontierland and Adventureland. It’s very large so you have less of a change of waiting in line.
The next few miles were fairly uneventful as we left the Magic Kingdom and headed toward the Walt Disney World Speedway. The course did get very congested here as we were down to just one lane, so I had to stop and walk more frequently than I would’ve liked. People were actually going on the other side of the cones, which was very dangerous because of oncoming traffic. Don’t do this during a race…
The Speedway was a new element to the marathon for this year and was just after mile 8. To get into the Speedway, there is a very steep downhill and uphill that proved to be a bit difficult for some runners. But when we entered the track, we were greeting to the beautiful sight of the sun rising.
I’m not a big car person, so I didn’t think I would enjoy the Speedway all that much, but it was actually one of my favorite parts of the entire course! It was a completely different experience from anywhere else I have run before. All along the track vintage and race cars were lined up and their owners were out there cheering…it was really cool! As you could expect, various stars from the movie Cars made an appearance here as well!
Mile 9 came at the end of the race track and I knew we were now in for a long boring 3 miles up to Animal Kingdom. The course goes up Bear Island Road which is pretty secluded (were we still on WDW property?!), but runDisney did a good job of placing various photo stops and entertainment along the way. Santa’s reindeer and the toy soldiers were even out…they must be on their post Christmas vacation. We also ran past the water treatment facility, which was just a gorgeous sight 😉
At this point in the day, the sun was starting to peak over the trees and the heat was creeping up. We made the approach into Animal Kingdom and to my surprise there were a ton of animals out! Now I’m a big animal lover and I have a small obsession with goats. So of course I bee-lined for one of the goats and asked the handler to take my picture with him….he looked at me kind of funny due to my excitement and how I hugged the goat, but whatever…
I immediately regretted this because now my hands smelled like goats. Kind of gross when you want to wipe the sweat off of your face. As soon as we entered the park, I stopped at the bathroom just outside Expedition Everest to wash my hands and splash some water on my face.
I had seen in prior marathons that runners have stopped to ride Expedition Everest during the race and I so wanted to do this! This is one of my favorite attractions and where else can you ride a roller coaster during a marathon?!? I was sad to see that the attraction wasn’t running yet so I had to just keep going 🙁 I know that is was open later in the day because I say ride photos. But looking back, it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t ride because I’m not sure I could have gotten up afterwards!
As we exited Animal Kingdom, we reached mile 13. I had reached the halfway point in the race in 3:08 and was really happy with that time. It was a little over my original goal of 3 hours for the half and I was still feeling good at this point. No major pain, no chafing, still had energy…yeah! Oh how things were about to change…
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Walt Disney World Marathon recap!!
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the entire weekend as media. My hotel expenses, meals and park admission were provided by Disney. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and I am 100% obsessed with runDisney events.