Goofy Race and a Half Challenge: Part 2, The Race

Oh my, I have waited long enough on this.  I am really not sure what has kept me from completing this race report.  It really has made no sense.   Well, here goes. 

It all started right after the half marathon on Saturday when I finished and knew that I had done the one thing I was not supposed to do with the half.  I raced it.  And it was fun.  I mean I just poured on the jets and tried my best to get things moving.  Well, at the finish line when I looked at the clock I knew I had put too much in and was in some trouble.  My legs were not quite ready to keep me going and I was sore.  The whole day I spent trying to get my legs in better shape and on top of that I was tired.  I spent a couple of hours on my parents living room floor asleep.  Then when I woke up we went out for a nice Italian dinner.  I had a chicken Parmesan with a side of spaghetti and some garlic bread that was to die for.  The big problem, it was getting late and my parents were over an hour away from my hotel.  Dinner and hugs went by and I was off to the hotel for a few hours of sleep. 

3:30am rolls by and I am up and getting ready.  I had already laid my stuff out and I made sure everything was in order.  Gels: check, bandaid on each nipple: check, bottle of recoverite: check, MP3 player:check, phone: check, Glide: check, glide some more: check, caps and visors: check, sun glasses: check, Virginia Tech Bike Jersey: check. Go Hokies. 

Well, I was off.  The start for the marathon was the same as the half so I knew the routine.  I got there and found my boy Timmy and he was freaking.  It was his first marathon and he freaked.  We were running a low on time and we decided to find a facility on the way to the start line.  It was just like before about a mile walk through the back roads were old Disney rides go to die.  I saw a few escaped Disney workers hiding in the reeds that had gone native.  I didn’t see any signs but I was sure it would be a bad idea to feed them.  A couple of my fellow hokie nation saw me out and we gobbled a little on the way to the start.  It was a long walk. 

Finally, the start line was within site and so were the deposit facilities.  We got in line and waited our turn to drop trou and squat.  My buddy Timmy was not only freaking he was freezing and wrapped in a Mylar blanket.  It was about 50F out and he thought it might snow.  He lives in Fort Myers Fl and the average temp in the “winter” is 75ish.  Either way, we get done and to the start line.  I start to freak out a little.  I had decided I was going to start with Timmy but we are in different corrals where they do not converge on the same route till mile 3 or so.  I hope there is no problems with me not going over the right mats but either way I will get through. 

Before the start I look up and see the biggest most beutiful full moon I have seen in years.  It lights up the sky like it was meant just for us.  I heard earlier that it would be the brightest full moon of the year because this is the closest it will be for a while.  I love the moon.  It may be the constant staring at it I do that may cause some of my lunacy.  I am not crazy my mind is just playing tricks on me.

There is some words, an anthem, a wheeled start, a ready, set, and fireworks and then we are off.  You know that push forward then stop then walk a little, then try to jog but that fails and then we walk some more and the actual start line get near and you see bobbing head just past it and you step on the mat and start to run.  I love marathon starts, its like driving in Philly during rush hour but with an end to the frustration in site. 

Well, the first mile goes by as it should slow.  I promised to start with Timmy and stay with him for a couple of miles.  I was not going out to race but to finish and there was no need to push early.  After that if he wanted to go on ahead or if I did there was no obligation.  We would meet after the finish.  We hit the 1 mile mark at 11 minutes and I think that is great.  We are looping through the Disney World roads.  At this point Timmy is burning up.  He overdressed and has to remove one layer.  A lesson learned.  I have my sunglasses on and it is still dark so I really have no idea where I am going but some how I am on a bridge then I am running under the golf ball at Epcot.  It is so cool to be going through these parks when nobody is there.  The torches light up the way and we make a turn at Norway I think and there is the river of runners from the other start line.  We are merged.  The hard part is that we merge at the narrowest portion of the entire race. 

Timmy and I make it out of Epcot and on our way to the Magic Kingdom.  I see balloons up ahead and suggest that we push forward a little to see what pace that is.  I hear and affirmative and I pick up the pace a little.  It is about mile 4 and I look back to see my man lagging behind.  That is the last I see of Timmy till the end of the race.  I felt a little bad but at that point I needed to run my own race and he needed to run his.  I had no doubt he would finish and do great.  I was not disappointed. 

Well, that balloon ahead was the 5 hour pace group and I didn’t give them a second glance as I went on by.  I could see the 4:30 pace group in the distance and knew where I needed to be so I just kept my pace.  We were heading around the Richard Petty raceway paying homage to Mr. The King when we came upon the rock vs. disco decision.  I love me some disco but rock keeps me going.  I have no idea what was rocking.  As a matter of fact my own play-list was barely registering.  I was kind of totally zoned into my own thing.  It was so bad that a few times other songs were going on in my head drowning out the MP3 player.  It was kind of annoying. 

Anywho, I ran into a runner who lives in Blacksburg but does not go to Virginia Tech.  A townie.  There was some connection like her husband works there or something like that but I really couldn’t have told you 100m later much less a month and a half later.  It was a welcome distraction for a few meters.

We hit the Magic Kingdom just like the day before.  Back stage into Main Street.  The lights are flashing and there are characters everywhere.  The crowd is there a cheering and it is so cool.  Right before we turn to Tomorrow land the crowd is just standing there silently so I egg them on.  “Come on Cheertators”  It works and they start cheering.  Around we go and back through Cinderella’s castle.  It is so awesome.  Again more silent cheertators.  I fix them and get a roaring ovation as I leave toward yesterday land.  I think it is really called Frontier Land but what ever.  It is kind of lonely back here because there are no cheertators, just some characters and a few uniformed Disney Personnel.  Thanks for the support so early guys. 

By this point it is getting a little warm and my cap is getting soaked.  The sun is up and beating us down. I am at a much slower pace than before and we going over some of the same course as the day before so I see the Sharpie signs and am able to read some of them.  Funny stuff for the most part.  If ever you wanted random trivia I am not sure a marathon is the place you would expect to find it.  But there is was.  I finally saw Space about this point.  I stopped and traded my cap for my visor.  I had never run with the visor but I decided to risk it.  I need a little air rustling through my thick lockes.  This worked better than I could have ever expected.

The next stretch was the to Animal Kingdom.  Nothing exciting except the water treatment plant on the way.  When they say that you will see the behind the scenes of Disney, they weren’t kidding.  Others said is was sewage treatment but having worked in the plumbing industry for a little while it didn’t have that “behind the scenes” smell.  Either way kind of cool and weird.  There were also some fantastic green houses.  In an unrelated moment they were handing out bananas.  I think every person peeled one took a  couple of bites and threw the rest on the ground.  Banana peels everywhere plus runners make for a cartoonish scene.  I didn’t see anybody fall but I am sure there were some slips. 

I head toward a turn and I know it is the Animal Kingdom.  Why else would there be animals with handlers there.  I think I was a goat and some birds.  The Animal Kingdom is kind of cool.  It is sort of like a Zoo on steroids.  The weird part is that there is a replica Everest there and I totally missed it.  Real nice scenery though.  Before I knew it we out of the Animal Kingdom.  There were people lined up to cheer us on outside the gates.  Totally awesome.  Right before we left the Animal Kingdom there was an aid station where the last thing handed out was a sponge soaked in water.  Oh so fantastic.  I put it right on top of my head and squeezed.  My visor kept the water right on my head.  I needed that and I used that idea with the other aid stations where I pour a little water on my head to cool off a little. 

After animal kingdom came the longest part of the entire race.  It was the 26.2 miles between there and Hollywood Studios.  I mean it felt like another marathon was put in that space.  It was just so long.  I had already started to drop my pace and was taking full advantage of the aid stations to walk a little.  The 4:30 pace group had passed me and I was totally cool with that.  They did their job by getting my to that point.  This leg of the race just went on for ever.  There was a point where we went out a mile and doubled back on it.  It was just hard.  The aid stations were a plenty but the area was kind of boring.  Either way, we eventually made it to Hollywood studios. 

This was great, the parks were opening by this point and we hit Hollywood studios from the back lot.  I saw the incredibles which was awesome.  Then we went through the costuming tunnel.  There were costumes and sewing machines on each side.  It was so cool.  This opened up to a street scene with a New York City back drop.  My mind was really messing with me at this point and I could not focus enough to see where the street ended and the facade began.  Lucky for me we turned before that but it is still messing with me.  About a 100m later I saw a Disney Vacation Club stand.  They really pimp this thing all over.  They are the Disney equivalent to Dunkin Doughnuts in Delaware.  I stopped and told the lady at the booth that I need a vacation.  She told me to stop by when I am finished.  But I needed one then.  I moved on.  We hit the gates of Hollywood Studios and I see a guy with a sign that says use your feather.  I know I have big ears but Dumbo I am not.

I start doing the math and realize there is only about two and a half miles left.  I am so in.  The next portion takes us by some resorts.  The Swan and Dolphin and by a canal.  It is about mile 24.5 when I hit a down slope on a bridge when I realize my shoes have about had it.  I started to slip in them and that is usually it.  Still things are going well, for the most part everything is feeling great.  One hot spot on my foot but that is okay.  I am near the last mile.  Bring it on.

Oh it was on.  The mile around the world.  We come in behind the scenes Epcot near a garbage dumpster.  I miss Cleveland.  Then out onto the world.  This is the most torturous mile ever.  I see where I need to be and it is a mile away while being only 50m away.  I have to go all the way around.  Canada, England, Morocco, China, Japan, Norway, America land, Mexico.  This is just long and will haunt me forever.  I finish the loop around the world and see Space there.  We slap hands and I know it is just a little while to go.  Around the corner is a gospel group then another turn and the finish and a bunch of silent cheertators.  I shame them into cheering and I finish in 4:42.

It is amazing we are ushered through the shoot. I got my Mickey Medal and Mylar Blanket.  I love and feel great.  It get to the refreshment and there is Powerade as well as water.  Overall the refreshments are the only bad part about this event.  I get through to the Goofy Tent and have my choice of beautiful ladies to give me my medal.  Afterwards, I see my parents and Rae.  I gather her up and we get our picture taken with all three medals.  What a blast.

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