Sunday, August 8, 2010

Marathon 26.2

"I've learned that finishing a marathon isn't just an athletic achievement. It's a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible."  John Hanc

I love Walt Disney World, a lot, like a whole whole lot!  It is the most magical place on earth!  I had not been back in 11 years and I really wanted to go.  How can I do this?  Hmmm....  I know, I'll sign myself up to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.  So I get on the Disney website and go to register, CRAP!  It is 100% full!  Grrr.  Why did I wait so long?  What am I going to do?!?!  What to do, what to do...

Oh, wait, I have an even better idea, I'll run the marathon, its only 99% full.  Oh, and I'll sign my whole family up to run it with me so I don't have to go alone.  Yes, that's what I'll do!  So I call my mom.  "Mom, will you run a marathon with me?  Please?"  "Are you CRAZY Nicole?  I'm too old for that!"  Ok, fine, I'll ask my dad, he always says yes.  "Dad, will you go to Disney World and run a marathon with me, I really want to go to Disney World, the half marathon is full and I hear the full marathon is a lot of fun?!"  "Sure, why not, make sure you sign your mom up too!"  YES!!

Urgently, I sign my dad, my mom, my little brother, and myself up to run the Disney marathon, before my dad realizes how far I just asked him to run and can change his mind.  It was October, which meant we had 3 months to train, well sorta.  We had already been training to run the Tulsa run, so we really had longer to train than that, actually we had 16 weeks.  I called my mom up to tell her the good news.  Well, I thought it was good news, her reaction, not so much. "YOU DID WHAT?  I'M TOO OLD FOR THIS.  YOU ARE CRAZY!!!"  I was so happy!  I was going to Disney World to run through every park, it was going to be awesome!  My mom, she'll get over it.   

And get over it she did!  She engaged in the training program I picked for us, well all of us except my brother, who decided not to follow it, hence the torn quadricep he suffered on race day.  My mom, the one who was dreading the marathon more than any of us actually did awesome at the training and the marathon itself.  In retrospect, I think my mom was made better than any of us to run marathons, more on that later.

We decided to use the Hal Higdon 16 week Marathon training program for beginners.  You can find his workouts here:

He has training programs for all kinds of runners and for all kinds of runs.  And they work!  Check him out if you are interested. I think his programs are awesome!

"The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals." Hal Higdon

Let the training begin!  Marathon training is not easy, actually I like to think of it as a part-time job.  I would work, get home, run, and eat, my poor husband.  He was awesome though and put up with my crazy training regimen.  On the weekends, I would have to devote at least one day to a long run, the longest run being 20 miles.  I took an average of 2 days off per week from running.  I ate on average what twice the normal person would eat.  People think, "I'll train for a marathon so I can lose weight."  Yeah not so much!  I was starving ALL THE TIME!!!  I would eat dinner, twice, and then want to eat again.  My husband thought I was crazy!  But I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Heck, I only lost half a toenail!  Not too shabby considering the stories I have heard.  Running and completing a marathon was one of the neatest things I have done, and getting to do it with people I love dearly was even better!

Since I signed us up for the marathon, my dad let me make all the travel arrangements for our trip.  I wanted it to be something my dad would remember.  You see, he is one that never ever goes on vacations.  I had to make this one he would really like so that I could convince him to do it again in a few years.  I chose the Disney Wilderness Lodge for us to stay at.  It is a pretty neat resort and I highly recommend it for inquiring minds.  Their lemonade is to die for!

The night before the big day, my mom, of course, cant sleep.  I don't think she slept a wink and she must have went to the bathroom 20 times that night. I think she was a little nervous.

We got up at 3 a.m. to catch the shuttle bus.  The marathon started at 5 something in the morning.  There were around 50,000 people all corralled together.  It was insane!

We were all in corrals based on times.  Luckily, I got placed in corral B, I think it took me a minute to cross the start line, for others, like my parents, it took forever.  And then we were off.  It was awesome!  We ran through epcot, magic kingdom, wide world of sports, animal kingdom, and mgm studios. 

Running through Cinderella's Castle

I never needed my ipod throughout the whole course.  There were Disney characters and music playing throughout the entire race.  People were so funny, in that they were running with their cell phones, talking to their loved ones, and stopping and taking pictures with all the Disney characters.  The race was the most organized race I have ever run.  At every mile there were water and powerade stops.  There were lines and lines of porta potties throughout the course.  At various mile markers there were also cliff bars, bananas, and wet sponges.  Medical tents were scattered throughout and the course was lined with cheerleaders to cheer us on.  It was incredible!

"I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart." Mike Fanelli

I was running pretty well for quite a while.  At the half way point I felt great!  At mile 20, I felt ok, minus the horrible muscle cramp, spasm, burning, whatever you want to call it, feeling in my left shoulder that was shooting up my neck to my head.  At mile 21, I hit the so-called wall that everyone talks about, wait, I didn't just hit it, I slammed face first into it, and HARD!  As Barry McGee said, "Anyone can run 20 miles. It's the next six that count."  To say I was hurting the last 6 miles was an understatement.  I think I must have prayed the whole rest of the way that I would just get through it.  Tortuously, I finally made it to the finish line, Thank GOD!!!  To this day, I still do not remember the last 5 miles or so.  It's funny how the mind works, isn't it?

"If you feel bad at 10 miles, you're in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you're normal. If you don't feel bad at 26 miles, you're abnormal."  Rob de Castella

yes that is me with my arms up, I know I am a dork!
After the marathon was over, and after I got my really cool mickey mouse medal, I think I collapsed on the ground outside the finish line.  I seriously could not move!  My feet hurt so bad I could barely walk.  They were on fire!  I have never been in that much pain in my entire life.  OH MY GOSH!  What was I thinking?  I must be insane!

My brother and I finished a couple hours before my mom and dad.  I don't think we moved at all the whole time we were waiting for them.  My mom finished next.  Of course she was walking just fine and looked like she could turn around and do the Goofy Challenge.  Then came my dad who did very well himself.  I was so proud of them for doing it!  After we all finally reunited again, we managed to make our way to the shuttle bus to take us back to the hotel.

Once in the room we collapsed on the bed for hours.  I know at the time that I was in so much pain and so unbelievably sore, but all I can really remember is not being able to pee and thinking "my kidneys are failing, my kidneys are failing!"  I think my mind has erased the memory of how bad I actually was really feeling afterward.  Is this why I am itching to do it again?  Perhaps.

Frank Shorter, 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist, said it best,  "You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming."

All-in-all it was such an amazing experience, well minus the burning feet, muscle pain from places I didn't even know I had muscles, and lets not forget those lazy kidneys.  I really can not wait to do it again!  Secretly, I know my mom wants to do it again too...Like I said, she was made for this! 

painfully having fun at MGM the day after
my mom's pretty much a stud
"Anybody can do just about anything with himself that he really wants to and makes his mind to do. We are capable of greater than we realize." - Norman Vincent Peale, author

I have recently convinced my husband to run the Disney marathon with me.  I am so excited!  He has never been to Disney before, and to experience it by running through it will be a great experience for him, haha, at least I hope so, as long as he doesn't despise me for putting him through the pain that comes with the marathon.  I know he can do it and I am ok with the fact that he will probably be cursing at me throughout the training and the marathon itself.  He will thank me later :)  I hope. 

I challenge you to pick something that you have always wanted to do, to have a goal, and set your mind to do nothing short of reaching it.  

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