Sunday, January 13, 2008

Walt Disney World Half Marathon :: Race Report

If you missed the Pre-Race Report, check it out here.

Warning: You may want to get a snack. This is a long one.

I mentioned my pink skort in my pre-race report. It was a recent purchase. I actually received it this week, ran a quick 2 1/2 mile test run and I knew I was in love. I decided that it would be a part of my race attire for Saturday morning.

I have run in the past with my extra fuel belt pouch clipped to my waistband when I have decided to leave my fuel belt at home. With nine water stops planned for the race, I was confident that my fuel belt would be more of a hassle than a necessity. I did want my extra pouch for my room key, a Clif Bar, my new favorite, Clif Shot Blocks. As I crossed the mats at the starting line I felt the pouch fall off. I looked behind me and the 10,000 people running toward me helped me make the decision to say goodbye to my race nutrition and just keep moving.

It seemed that people spread out a little quicker than last year. By the two mile mark there was enough space to move relatively freely. The route was peppered with Marching Bands, a Steel Drum Band and DJ's. Near the 2 1/2 mile mark, the DJ was playing Rick Derringer's Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo. This really made me smile. Not that I'm a huge Rick Derringer fan, however, that's the ringtone when my sister calls (long story behind that one...) It made me feel like she was there cheering for me. I will take the support any way I can and justify as I see fit!

I hit the 5k mat at 31:02. Not bad...

This year there was a slight change to the course that I don't remember from past years. In the Magic Kingdom parking lot, runner were split into two groups and then joined up about a quarter mile later. It was up to each runner to decide which way to go. The choices were "Disco Drive" and "Headbanger Highway". A guy about 50 yards in front of me actually jumped when he realized he was headed toward Disco Drive and headed down Headbanger Highway. I chose Disco Drive and had a quarter mile of Disco Inferno. Burn baby, burn!

The runners were joined again as we approached the Ticket and Transportation Center. There was a lot of crowd support in this area and it's nice to have people cheering! The next landmark was the Contemporary Hotel. Just before we passed the hotel we ran under a bridge that is the channel for the lake. What an engineering marvel that is. Last year I ran on the sidewalk through this part of the course. This year, a security guard was on the sidewalk yelling "Stay off the Sidewalk!". Okay. I stayed on the road.

A few more minutes and we were on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom. This is the place with the most energy. The crowd is huge and everyone is cheering. It was great! There were a lot of runners stopping to the side to take pictures of Cinderella's Castle. I can only imagine what it must be like for someone who has never or rarely been to the Magic Kingdom. As an annual passholder on and off since I was fourteen, I realize that while I still find it magical, I'm probably a little jaded to the magic.

We turned toward Tomorrowland and into Fantasyland and right through Cinderella's Castle. We made our way to Frontierland and across the 10k mat. My split: 1:03:08. I was pretty sure that I would not match my time from last year. I remembered being really excited that my 10k split was less than an hour the year before (58:51)

The course crosses the railroad tracks and runners head "backstage". I was looking forward to this, because in the past there were bananas near the water stop. This year, no dice, err bananas. I was getting hungry.

It was nice and breezy on the back road that would lead us past the Grand Floridian Hotel and Spa. A lot of crowd support here. I recognized some people from the Ticket and Transportation Center. It's funny how some strangers stick out in your mind.

This part of the course had the nicest volunteers at the water stop. They were cheering and even reading our names off of our race bibs. I must have been called Madeline 50 times ( I was definitely called Mad-a-line once...) which is sort of funny, because other than my dad, my sister and my boss, no one really calls me that any more.

After the volunteers the most memorable part of this area was being passed by a guy wearing a black Speedo, a red cape, shin guards and a Roman-style helmet. Funny. I remember starting to struggle a bit at this point a year ago. I continued to feel pretty strong. I crossed the 15k mat in 1:35:47. Now I knew for sure that I would not beat my time from last year. My 15k split in 2007 was 1:31:51. A three minute and 36 second difference.

The big difference this year over last is I felt more consist ant for almost the entire race. I felt myself start to struggle just past the 11 mile mark when we began to climb an overpass after running an on-ramp about a mile before. Once I got to top of the overpass, I dug deep because I knew that was just a little more than a mile to go.

We hit the last water stop and then we were inside Future World at EPCOT. We ran to the Seven Seas Lagoon where Geppetto, Pinocchio and Aladdin (not sure how he fit into the picture...) were cheering for us. As I passed, I yelled "I love you Pinocchio". I was starting to feel silly.

I was getting so close. As I ran past the choir (one of my favorite parts of the race) I new there was less than 400 yards to go. And then I saw the finish line! I pushed to get the clock time at less than 2:17. I was close, but finished with a clock time of 2:17:05. Oh well. My chip time was 2:16:22. Three minutes and 34 seconds slower than last year.

I am extremely happy with my time. I ran this race on a much more crowded and challenging course one minute and 22 seconds slower than my first half marathon of the year a mere six days before.

I'm really happy about the consistency. I'm still reflecting on what it all means, but I'm really pleased.

Three years in a row. My Trifecta.


At 8:16 PM, Blogger Susan said...

Congrats on the trifecta, Mad-a-line! :)

Great race report. I honestly felt like I was there. And I love the way certain characters and songs stand out to you. What a gal!

It stinks that you lost your fuel -- but it certainly sounds like you made due.

Isn't it the best to have people shout your name? It certainly gets me going!!!

Seriously, way to go. So now on to Sarasota?

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Bev said...

Awesome job and really enjoyed the race report! Sounds like Disney is a great place to run a race. Get some rest and recoup.

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Runner Leana said...

Maddy, excellent job on your race! Most people didn't attempt to call out my name, and of those that did I remember hearing it correctly three times. I appreciated the cheering regardless! Sorry to not see you at the start. I was way back in Coral C...had a blast running with my cousin and her husband the entire way and it was definitely a memorable race. Maybe we'll see you at the Minnie in May..??

At 10:47 PM, Blogger Adam Tinkoff said...

Awesome race report. I'm sure many will benefit from your descriptive details. It was like having a first row ticket. Brilliant. - now? Time for ice cream.

At 1:54 AM, Blogger peter said...

That's a nice array of medals. Your report transported me back to 2006 when I ran it. It was 34 degrees back then. You have to get out now and run the Disneyland Half, it too is a blast. Good job!

At 8:15 AM, Blogger ShirleyPerly said...

Incredible details!! Definitely a lot more interesting course than DLS. Congrats on running two half marathons in just one week so well !

At 12:07 PM, Blogger IrishBlue said...

I love those medals. Look at you just racking 'em up too. Good job!!

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Great job Maddy, and 2 in a week! Exceptional!

Enjoyed reading your race report!

At 7:00 PM, Blogger P.O.M. said...

Congrats on the Tri-Fecta!!!

Do we get to see pics?

At 10:13 PM, Blogger akshaye said...

Congrats on the 3! y

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Drusy said...

Congratulations Maddy! Great race report - I cringed when you described how you lost your shot blocks.... and just refocused and got on with it.. Brilliant!

At 8:28 PM, Blogger Amy@RunnersLounge said...

Congratulations! That picture of those three medals is so inspiring! Who wouldn't want to keep doing it!

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Christine said...

that looks like an awesome race!!! maybe I will try it next year. Congrats on the awesome time :)

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Marathon Maritza said...

Congrats!!! You did great!

Your trifecta of medals is so awesome!

At 3:32 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

That's so cool that you've done that 3 yrs in a row!

My brother in law ran the full and was miserable because of the heat/humidity.


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