Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 Walt Disney World Marathon

Hugh, Dan, and I traveled to Orlando on Friday to run the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday. We arrived late on Friday, ate IHOP and went to bed. On Saturday we did a lot of carb-loading and resting since we had to get up at 3 am Eastern time which was like getting up at 2 am Missouri time.

We left about 3:30 am and didn't have any problems with traffic. Arrived about 4 am and stood in line for bathrooms hoping that we could go, but I think due to the early time it was difficult. There was a guy right behind us in line wearing a USMC shirt with a nametag of Chris, and wearing a hat. I asked if he was Chris from the Joy of Running Group since he said that was what he would be wearing. Pretty amazing that he picked that line out of the 100s of port-a-potties and the thousands of people. He called Bill (slow twin) from the group that we met in Minneapolis for dinner and he came over to say hi. Then we headed to the start line which had plenty more bathrooms and shorter lines. We waited there around an hour before starting trying to use the bathrooms and I finally had success 2 times cutting it close since we were starting in 15 minutes. Dan said he was giving up and moved up to the 3:10 area. Hugh started somewhere behind the 3:30 pacers. When I came back the last time I moved up as close to the front as I could get through people and waited.

National anthem, wheel chair runners, fire works and we were off running. My body felt really good before the marathon so I was hoping that wasn't a bad sign. I had set my Garmin for a 6:51 pace to get me in at 2:59:28 giving me a little cushion to get under 3. Felt like my pace was fast and erratic at times, but turned out it was really even at each mile. Ran the first 4 miles trying to establish a pace and then met up with a guy named Brian that asked if I wanted to pace with him. When he found out I was from Columbia he mentioned he was running the Heart of America this year staying with 2 friends from Mizzou. He was trying to qualify for Boston with a 3:10 or better and had also ran a couple 50 miles. I enjoyed talking with him and we paced for 3 miles until he said he was stopping to loosen his tight shoe and said to go ahead. I kept looking back for him and did not see him again. I found out after the marathon he is a friend of Andrew and Allison Cox (Hugh's former coworker).

The first hour or so of the course was dark although some areas were lighted and some were not. Disney characters along the course trying to amuse us. Some parts were fun to run through and some were kind of boring where there was nothing. I continued pacing on my own and the miles kept going by a little ahead of goal pace. At mile 14 I caught up to a small group of about 6 guys that looked like they were running about the pace I should be running. They said they were trying to keep between 6:45 – 6:50 pace so I ran with them for 3 miles and then their group started to break up. I pulled ahead with a guy from their group. Also, had a guy with an Army shirt I was using for pace too that kept going back and forth.

I had run the first 13.1 in my mind as a race and then was sort of running the next 6.9 to get to 20 as a race. I was still feeling good at 20 so kept pushing on with the pace. I was running alone and couldn’t see many in front of me and right before mile 24 I start seeing people. I feel like I am running a faster pace and begin passing runners, counting them off to pass the time. I end up passing 10 of them by mile 25 and then see no one ahead of me until about 25.5 mi gaining on a guy but not catching him. Never bonked or hit the wall. Felt quads a little in the last half mile. At times in the last 6 miles I felt like I was the only one running since no one was around me. It was kind of strange and almost didn’t feel real. Crowds of people all cheering for me since no one else was around. Our names were on the number so they could yell out names as we went by.

I finished in 2:58:12, 66th out of 14,940. Placed 9th of 1374 in 40 – 44 age group. Once I got through the food line, waited for Dan to come in and then Hugh. I wasn’t sure whether to go for a sub-3 or just run to enjoy, but my competitive nature made me go for it even though I really had my doubts I could do it on this flat course. The flat Chicago course I ran poorly in 2006 mostly due to cold and spasms had me thinking that I couldn’t run fast on a flat course. I am very happy with my even splits and ran the last half 12 seconds faster than the first. Missed a PR by 25 seconds.

M1 – 6:57…….M14 – 6:43
M2 – 6:42…….M15 – 6:41
M3 – 6:45…….M16 – 6:51
M4 – 6:46…….M17 – 6:48
M5 – 6:47…….M18 – 6:47
M6 – 6:47…….M19 – 6:43
M7 – 6:45…….M20 – 6:46
M8 – 6:49…….M21 – 6:48
M9 – 6:47…….M22 – 6:45
M10 – 6:47…..M23 – 6:51
M11 – 6:43….M24 – 6:44
M12 – 6:45….M25 – 6:46
M13 – 6:45….M26 – 6:45
………………0.35 – 6:20 pace

Clock Time2:58:19
Chip Time2:58:12
Overall Place66 /14940
Gender Place61/7801
Division Place9/1374
5 Mile 34:08
10 Mile 1:08:07
Half Split1:29:12
20 Mile 2:15:58

I'm really bad at describing this course but this blog does a good job:
Disney Marathon Tour
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