After working a 14 hour day yesterday, and watching the end of the Yankee game, I definitely needed to go back to a good place again! Plus, it’s Friday!
I was originally going to write a post about the impact of Mariano Rivera’s retirement, watching his exit last time from the Stadium last night…but, for you non-sports fans, you would think I’m just extra crazy. I’ll probably still write the post, but I need cheering up, not feeling like crying, so with that, on to the Happiest Race on Earth recap!
Last I left you, we had just completed our 10K. Doug successfully ran his first race and I felt like I was going to die. This factor just added to my dread/nerves about running this half marathon. I had many many factors against me. The heat and humidity (granted, not as bad as during the 10K, but still more significant than I was prepared for), running a 10K the day before (my first attempt at conquering back to back races), lack of a long run in training (the heat and humidity in NY and I did not get along well), my first time running a half marathon by myself (I’ve always followed someone else’s pace), not to mention, oh yeah, this was the end of a 2 week honeymoon filled with gluttony and lounging pool/beachside with drinks in my hand. For all these reasons I had opted to try to run this one with the Galloway method, hoping it would help balance out some of these factors as well as distract me from thinking about them.
So, with my 4am wake up call (I LOVE being able to walk to the corrals) I started to make my way to the start line. It was a much smoother process this morning getting into my corral, although the amount of people seemed very intimidating as the thought “please let someone finish after me” kept entering my head.
Before I knew it, it was my time to cross the start line! I was filled with tons of nerves! But I had a plan, I was going to stick to it. A few months ago, I had hopes of PRing at this race, but at the start, I knew I wouldn’t. So instead I decided to have an FFF philosophy: Focus on the Fun and the Finish.
Because of the length of the lines and not wanting to lose my groove, I again didn’t stop to take any pictures…plus I felt kind of silly on my own, I’m just weird that way. Sorry all the pictures are blurry!
Before we knew it, we were done with the parks and still had about 10 miles to go! (That would probably be my only complaint about this race, the limited amount of time in the parks, or the timing of it…it would have been nice to end the race with the run through the parks, that usually gives me the jolt I need when I’m running down at the end of a race.) Anyway…
I was doing pretty well with my run 4 minutes/walk 1 minute intervals. I would adjust them occasionally depending if we were on a hill (not many) or at a water stop.
The good news, I finished the first 10K of this race feeling better, stronger and faster than the 10K the previous day. But the downside was, shortly afterwards, the race was about to get a little unbearable. I had been warned by numerous bloggers who had run the race before to “BRING YOUR SUNGLASSES” and they were right. After miles 6ish, you make a turn and then boom! The sun is right at you with this unbearable glare! Well, how bad it is depends on what time you hit that point. When I hit it, it was almost impossible to see anything, and the sun was making it extra hot. So, I had the extra heat and the inability to see anything in order to distract me. But, there was relief right around the corner at mile 8!
There were stretches of classic cars along the route, and their owners were amazing and supportive (the people at this race definitely made this race such an incredible experience!) Unfortunately, I couldn’t see most of the classic cars because of the sun (even with my sun glasses). At mile 8 we turned the corner, it gave us relief and just in time for me to spot the row of my favorite car, the MUSTANG!
I was totally embracing the fun. I was high fiving everyone I saw and cheering with them. Hearing a couple of “Go Cinderella!” definitely helped keep me going.
As we exited the stadium, I knew we were close to the end. Once we hit the 10 mile mark, I had no idea what my time was (when doing intervals, my Garmin doesn’t show distance/pace and I deliberately didn’t try to see it), but I could tell I was actually doing okay. And then things went bad. My legs were had already begun to feel like they weren’t moving at all (hello lack of long runs biting me in the butt!) and my sneakers (that I have a love hate relationship with) were demonstrating the hate part. But then my brain betrayed me as well. Hoping that saying “only 5K left to go!” would help motivate me…it didn’t. Instead of getting me to keep going because I was so close, I allowed this “only” to interpret the run as being over and my body just shut down. That last 5K had a lot of walking. The most frustrating part is I wasn’t exhausted. I felt good. I wasn’t out of breath or anything. But, my legs…my legs had it in their mind that I was done running.
This is where the downside to me running by myself kicked in. I had done a good job of pushing myself the majority of the race. I can do this, don’t give up. But at this point, this is when I needed someone else there to keep me going. I have no idea what my running intervals were at this point, but I was losing a lot of time with this walking. I knew I wasn’t going to PR at any point, but I didn’t want to finish with my slowest time either.
Finally we get back to the outside of the parks, the Downtown Disney area. I had no idea where Doug would be, but I would be damned if I would let him see me walk across the finish line. I forgot the intervals, and just started running. I may not have been strong the last couple of miles, but I was going to finish strong. Just after 13 miles, I saw Doug and he was screaming “you did it baby!” to which I yelled back “no I didn’t! I didn’t cross the finish line yet!” But something there was something in seeing him. And then I saw the finish line…and I saw the clock…and although I still had no idea what my exact time was, I knew it was a Disney PR and that just had me embrace the finish all the more. I ran over to the side, and for the first time ever gave high fives to the Disney characters (actually, they usually might not even still be when I typically cross the finish line). With a high five to Minnie, Pluto and Goofy I crossed the finish line with a HUGE smile on my face!
I did it! I completed the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge!
OK, so I didn’t PR. BUT, I was actually only 3.5 minutes off from it! Which makes me really proud of myself that I was able to finish the race that fast and really annoyed with myself that if I had just kept pushing myself, I could’ve PR’ed. I’m letting the proud out weigh the annoyed tho. I definitely want to come back and conquer this race again…and I WILL PR next time. This was definitely a very enjoyable half marathon, truly the happiest race on Earth!
Thus endeth my long-winded recap! Happy Friday!