So last night I was in bed by 7:00 PM…and asleep by 7:30 just so I could be functional at 3:00 AM. When the alarms went off I was up and getting ready.
Day 2 and I still hate this early morning c&@%!! Again I set everything out the night before so that I would easily be able to get ready and not have to worry about anything other than the race. After yesterday’s race I suffered from a bit of chafing so thankfully Kristin and Rich were able to spare some Vaseline so I could lube up the legs this morning before the run.
Met everyone for the bus this morning and we were all accounted for before the bus took off. One less thing to worry about today, hurray!
We got the bus drop off just as we did yesterday and made the long walk to the runner’s area. Today we quickly dispatched our bags and visited the porta-potties. Then we waited.
Last night it rained so the ground was wet and the humidity was at 100%...I was only hoping that it would rain during the race to cool things off but I wasn’t going to be that lucky.
Once they announced that we were ready to start walking to the starting area we all needed to use the restroom again! Ultimately I ended up using another bush but this time it was before the race started so I didn’t have to suffer losing any time.
The starting area was just as packed as it was yesterday. Thousands of people milling around with nervous energy just waiting for the day to be done and I was right there with them. I just wanted the day to be over and this whole event to be behind me. I trained really well for this day and I knew that I would easily be able to finish but I was equally hoping that I would have a great time.
As we got into our respective corrals I realized once again that I was way too close to the starting line. I kept wondering; what did I put down as my finishing time because I didn’t think I should be this close to the start line! It was a heck of a view though. The big screen was pumping out the tunes and videos while I could see all the action on the main stage as well. At one point during a video I noticed that the camera was on a person with Tiger ears and that the person next to the Tiger ears was wearing bright yellow…oh wait “that’s us!” We all turned as waved to the camera…how fun was that!?!
Just like the day before the wheel chair racers took off 2 minutes before us and then our count down began. I thought we had some cool fireworks the day before but todays were even better! When the gun went off and the big fireworks were launched, the Starting Line Sign began to shoot fire from 4 flame throwers atop the sign!! They would alternate which ones would fire but the heat could be felt from them over 10 yards away! It was a very cool way to start off the race.
The corrals were broken into 2 groups that would not meet up until after we exited Epcot so I settled into a good pace and found a decent clearing and made a line. I thought that if I was able to maintain a similar pace as I had yesterday I would be in great shape but the humidity at 6:00 AM was still too high so I began to slow the pace slightly.
We entered Epcot from the front. The side walk outside of Innovations was sparkling…way too cool. They had all kinds of colored spotlights scanning the slightly hazy sky which took on a very surreal effect. I was amazed to see all of the employees out waving to us as we passed. I kept thinking “isn’t it too early for these people to be here?” Maybe it was because of us but that thought never crossed my mind at the time.
Upon exiting Epcot we began making the same long trek to the Magic Kingdom that we did the day before. Luckily there was some new music to listen to but the same old roads.
Upon making the big turn toward the Magic Kingdom I took my first Hammer Gel. It was going to be a hot humid day so taking in the calories was going to be a high priority for me and at 6 miles things were still looking pretty good.
The water stops were fantastic, the volunteers were great, helpful, and plentiful, and the music was nearly non-stop. I was happy to see the steel drum band again…the music just reminds me of a tropical paradise…even though I’ve never seen them when we have been in a tropical region…strange.
As I approached Magic Kingdom and the “musical” choice portion of the race I had to make a mandatory stop…the gel went right through me…or maybe it was the banana…either way the stop was made and it took 10 minutes longer than I had hoped at this point in the race. The musical choice today was not the same as it was yesterday so I had to make a quick course correction because I was headed to the “Disco” today only to find out it had been changed to “County” I opted in stead to do the “short route” again and listen to “80’s music.”
The Magic Kingdom was a bit busier this morning since we were about an hour later than the day before and was much more colorful in the daylight! The course though the Kingdom was the same and I at least have one photo with the Castle this time, so I’m happy.
The road out of the Magic Kingdom marked the 12 mile mark and time for another Hammer Gel. This one didn’t go down as nicely and made me gag a little…I drank a bit more water than I wanted too so I was a little sloshy for the next mile. As we made our way past the golf course again I thought that it was odd that now for the second day there was no one to be seen on the course…I wonder why? It looks beautiful, the weather was spectacular, and so it must be the greens fees!! Oh well back to the race.
As I hit the half way point the 5 hour pace group passes me…a little depressing so I try to stay with them and manage to for the next mile but soon I drift off to the back never to see them again.
The road we are heading down looks like it is not for general traffic but they have speakers all along the road with tunes just pumping out of them. The CD that was playing was a “best of” pick a year. So in the next 2 miles or so I was able to hear music from 1995 through 2007! It was quite a treat. It would only play about 20-40 seconds of a song and then move on to another from the same year. I was in short attention span heaven.
When we got close to Animal Kingdom we went past the facility they use to dispose of the animal waste…yes it smelled as good as it sounds! That is one place I would not like to go back to, but it really wasn’t any worse than going by the treatment plant on the south side of Racine during the summer.
Upon entering the employee area of Animal Kingdom we were greeted by a few of the employees and their animals…All I saw was a few goats but I had heard that there was a bird or two with a trainer, I just never saw that. There were drums being played when we got to the main park. I’ll be honest when my wife and I went back the next day I remember being there but I really didn’t look around too much while running though here. I do remember Everest though…I think they did a really good job making that thing look like a real mountain and I was a little awe struck by it.
We exited the park the same type of way we had for all the others, though an employee area, but what I wasn’t expecting was to end up in the parking lot of the park! These parking lots are huge!! We ran around the edge of the lot and the route took us right past the front gate where there were thousands of people trying to get in the park and there to cheer us on. It was quite a scene!
From here we made our way out to the highway where in a few miles I would get to see my wife at around mile 19. She was waiting there with Melissa’s husband. She said I was looking good…she said it as though she was surprised, hmm…and asked if I wanted my fresh socks. Considering my socks had not been dry since mile 3 I said yes. A quick change, a thank you, a kiss, and I told her I’d see her at the finish line.
After another few miles of highway we made our way toward the next park, Hollywood Disney. The highway leading to this park was all backed up due to the roads being closed for us runners…I’m sure I heard a few choice words from those cars.
Hollywood Disney seemed very short. We got into the employee area and went through a candy stop….mmmm, chocolate…made our way past the costume making area, out onto the Downtown street, out to Mickey’s Sorcerers Hat and out the front gate. Maybe it was because there were so many people in the park that things just went by so fast but wow!
I knew at this point I was in the final stretch. All that was left was a run around one of the Disney resort areas and on to Epcot. The Boardwalk around the resorts was gorgeous. I felt like I was just out for my Saturday run along the lake. The trail was clear of everything but runners the breeze was nice in this area, and the view of all of the resorts was beautiful. I think there were a few people confused as to what was really going on because you saw them looking at the pylons and looking at the runners very oddly.
When I heard “Last Water Stop” my heart jumped. This was it I was about to complete this journey and people would really be able to call me “Goofy.” Just past the water stop we go through this huge wooden gate and there is the Epcot. What a sight…all the countries right before me and I know that that shinning ball is right near the finish line.
It was a bit more of a struggle here than I would have thought. There weren’t as many people in the park and that ball seemed much farther away than I first hoped. I plodded on. People were becoming more plentiful the closer I got to the front of the park…this propelled me. Once we were in front of the ball we headed right for it. This part was the same as the day before…run to the ball and exit through the employee area where we would see the choir...but today there were a lot more people I had to run. I ran until I got into the employee area where I walked a little…I noticed that I wasn’t the only person to do this so I had a little laugh. The choir was different but still very good!
Exit Epcot and enter the final 100 yards. The stands were overflowing today. There were people everywhere. I was focused on that clock and the finish line. This was it. I was about to complete a marathon the day after completing a half marathon.
I pushed my legs and we ran those last 100 yards. I gave a high five to a Chipmunk…you will have to ask my wife if it was Chip or Dale because I still don’t remember which is which but mine had a black nose…and got across the line in 5:37.
The marathon medal was a secret since this was the marathon’s 15th anniversary so I was happy to see that the medal was big and truly identifiable! I headed to the Goofy tent to get what I had trained for…my Goofy Medal. I was not disappointed.
I completed the 13.1 mile course in 2:17 on Saturday.
I completed the 26.2 mile course in 5:37 on Sunday.
I did it.
I’m a “Goofy.”