One third of the way there...

Well I know those of you on the west coast are probably not even out of bed and some of us have already run a half marathon!!!

When you left the thrilling epistle last night the hero (and heroine) had just had the traditional 'night before the race cold bath' and were trying to get to sleep. I think I may have dropped off sometime after 1 so 1-2 hours sleep before the alarm went off. it didn't help that we appear to have the room next to some incontinent folk - I  have never heard a toilet flush so much! Maybe they were very nervous about the race eh?

So 3am calls/bleeps/buzzes and though I am not a morning person I am always annoyingly perky on race day. It took me about 5 minutes to wake up then we dressed and ate breakfast #1. This is my 5th half marathon and J's first so while I was casual and chatty she was..... well lets just say not as casual and chatty and I am probably quite annoying. We went and caught the bus at 3:30 which was about 5 minutes before the big line appeared and headed of to the start line. There are 16,500 people running the half so we had little chance of meeting our other friend but after a quick toilet stop there he was right in front of us. The force is strong with us today!

The area got more and more crowded as people arrived and around 5am they called for the first wave which meant we had to leave J waiting - first time runners always get the final wave which is pretty sucky if you are a reasonable runner because you have to dodge all the walkers. My corral is B - right behind the elite and fast runners in A. (they go up to F for the 1st wave). We have to stand around which is pretty annoying and it is very humid and feels way hotter than the 64F they were claiming. The really funny thing is when the announcer apologises to people for the cold - I was already in my single layer and my hat was destined to last less than 2 miles.

My race tactic was to run at 10:30 pace as much as possible and if I felt tired slow down toward the end and aim for 2:20 to 2:30 finish time. My PR is 1:58 so that's a nice slow half marathon while saving something for tomorrow. J bought me a new fangled watch for Christmas that has a virtual partner mode where you tell it that you want to run against someone of a certain pace and it just tells you how far behind/in front of that person you are. Its very easy to read and you don't have to do any math. So my partner and I headed out at 10:30 into the muggy morning - its still dark at this point of course.

First water stop - too hot... drink the powerade and dump the water over my head. This was the routine at every water break. Support was excellent all around the route but especially as we head into magic kingdom. Lots of Disney characters were out and i took some pictures as I ran with one of those disposable cameras and even found time to stop and have my picture taken with Jessie from Toy Story 2. I'm not trying for a fast time here so I can enjoy the sights and high five the kids and cast members who are wearing Mickey Hands. The middle part of the race has a nice breeze which cools things down a bit.

Before you know it you exit magic kingdom and run through the back lot which is cool because there are bits of rides and castle and stuff just piles up in a warehouse. Then we are at mile 8 or so and on the way back. My average pace is right on 10:30 and I feel a little tired but nothing like usual. I think I am pretty safe at this pace so I just keep it up even though I am being passed a lot. Of course I am also passing all those people who went out way too fast and are now walking. Pretty soon the spaceship earth globe comes into view and we are heading into Epcot. Its mile 11 now and I have plenty of energy. My watch tells me I am 100ft ahead of my virtual partner so no speeding up for me. Those just running one day are picking it up now and its VERY hard not to go with them. The sun is out now and its warming up so I don't want to wipe myself out. Even at the finish line there is no sprinting - I don't need to pull any muscles so I just casually jog it in along side people wheezing. My final time is a nice sensible 2:18 There's a couple of older guys who finish near me who are not looking good but the medics grab them and I go get my space blanket, medal and food and head off to meet the supporter crew. I cant find them at first so I go join the character photo lines and get some photos - well i can choose to buy them for the small price of a kidney or my soul!

My other goofy friend comes in 10 minutes or so behind me and we head off to see J finish her first - it takes about 10 minutes to get close to the finish line and we elbow a few folk out of the way and ring the cowbell loud as she finished and was still smiling for 3:05. She's even walking almost normally.

Of course now its back to the hotel room for yet another ice bath (my second of 4 this weekend) and now all I have to do is rest and eat and get up at 3am again tomorrow. Woo Hoo. Everything feels pretty good so the start should be nice. We will see where the fatigue kicks in though. On a marathon its usually around mile 18-20 so I'm expecting something a little earlier tomorrow.



Published 12 January 2008 08:18 AM by zman
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