Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Goofy Challenge – Part Deux

I celebrated my half marathon finish by “flying” down the chute Ryan Hall style. It’s a ritual adopted by Marc and myself to celebrate the incredible feeling of freedom that we get from running. You can see the flight path of the Crazy Canuck in the following video.

Post race I grabbed a bus back to the resort and did some laundry and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon. That evening, I had dinner plans with a group of Twitter friends the upstairs dining room of the Wolfgang Puck Café in Downtown Disney.  Before leaving I had the chance to finally meet my Kris, she was lounging by the pool next resort over.  I got to apologize for messing up meeting at the pasta dinner by giving her the wrong phone number.  The next day was her first marathon (which she knocked out of the park).

At our tweetup I met Jenn with some of her Team in Training team members, Lee and Isis, and Alett and her husband . I continued my pre-marathon tradition of having a spinach salad and managed to work in a salmon dinner and a delicious dark beer as well.

Leaving Downtown Disney, I could feel the temperature dropping. They were calling for temperatures in the mid-30’s (F) for the starting line in the morning. I was back in to my room around 10pm. Good thing I rested all afternoon. I had four hours of downtime before having to get up at 2am again for the prerace ritual. Being a wee bit better organized I stopped by the cafeteria –style restaurant and grabbed the Marathoner’s box breakfast which consisted of a bagel, peanut butter, banana, granola bar, and small bottle of water. I set the alarm on the clock and my cell phone – just in case.

It wasn’t too long before the alarms were buzzing and bleeping. Time to get moving (again). This time I knew that it wasn’t a necessity to be on the first bus. I debated wearing the CW-X tights that I procured at the expo but the ruled them out with the “Don’t wear anything new on race day!”

I did decide to layer a bit with a lululemon tank and my long sleeve Canada ¾ zip shirt. I had a throw away hooded nylon jacket for the starting line. Instead of “borrowing” another pool towel, I took the mylar blanket from the half marathon finish for extra warmth.

At 4am I met more Twitter peeps at the T(witter) bag check. At dinner I mentioned that I had never had the opportunity to sample Honey Milk. Lee slipped me a sample before I checked my bag for a post race treat.

After wishing everyone well, it was time to line-up for the port-o-potty and then head to the starting corral. This time I was in Coral F as in Dee- Eff- El! At least I get to see everyone else start their race.

I kept the same pace as the Half and used the grassy median where ever possible again. With “only” 17,000 people in the full marathon is marginally less crowded along the roads. Inside the parks it was still quite crowded.

There is so much energy surrounding the event. Park staffers, characters, family and friends, marching bands, choirs, cheerleaders, there isn’t and empty or boring mile. Medical aid is everywhere, and water stops are plentiful. The race support is second to none.

As the sun rose I offered to take a picture for another runner, she reciprocated for me. It’s my favourite shot from the weekend. I stopped for some character pictures when the line-ups were short or non-existent. According to my kids I’m a failure for not stopping at Phineas and Ferb, and the line for Captain Jack Sparrow was always long, as it was with many of the Princesses.

 Remembering another MoB runner tradition, I took the opportunity to use Cinderella’s Castle as Woo-Hoo (Curnoe) tunnel.

I rubbed the skull in Animal Kingdom and felt right at home passing the sewage treatment plant.

Twenty miles evaporated. I felt amazing.

I ran both days my Zensah Shin Splint Calf Sleeves. I never experienced a single calf twinge. Both of my IT bands were noticeable, and I did pop a precautionary Tylenol around mile 18 after giving out mine to another runner earlier . Still after 33.1 miles I felt fantastic. At the 20 mile marker I made the decision to run. Open it up when the space was there, finish strong. What an incredible feeling. For the first time ever in a marathon I was in control, my body hadn’t betrayed me.

So I ran.

Around mile 24 I heard a “JEFF!!!” The voice sounded familiar, “Was that Nancy?” (Yes it was, I found out back in London that she had waited on the course until I had run by. – Thank you so much)

I finished strong. More importantly I finished happy. Magic Kingdom indeed! My time was 4:24:38.

After my Goofy Finisher’s photo, I went through the bag check. Honey Milk! We have no idea what we are missing in Canada. This product is perfect for post race recovery.

Back to the resort, the best hamburger ever, warm shower (sorry kids no ice bath for this kid), compression tights, and an evening walk through Downtown Disney for some souvenir shopping.

Special plans for Monday!

Again Lee Hoedl has captured the essence of the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon experience.

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