Thursday, January 15, 2009

Old Dog...New Tricks

Running with "The Mouse" down in Florida is a different kind of day. Or, in my case days. Last weekend my wife and I decamped to Disney World for the WDW Marathon and Half Marathon.
It's always a good time. Mary Lou ran her third Half Marathon and I succumbed to the draw of my fourth "Goofy Challenge." Run the half on Saturday and then the Marathon on Sunday. Easy. It's not bad actually, the hardest part being getting out of bed a 2:00 am two days in a row!
We're up at 2:00 on Saturday morning to get going and get on the Disney supplied race transportation at 3:00...Just a quick spin over to the Epcot Parking lot (we stayed on the grounds at Disney)  a bit of a walk over to the race site and then settle in. My first Goofy the temps were in the 30's and was not good sitting out there on the blacktop waiting for the race start.
Ever since and especially with ML's first Half  three years ago,we sign up for the Race Retreat...carpeted, warm, with food and tea and coffee and Mickey Mouse and private Porta-Johns, expensive, yes and worth every bloody penny!
At 5:00 we start the walk over to the start which takes about 20 minutes and it's a good time to chat and people watch. It's 55 degrees and I can't believe the number of folks in tights and jackets.  Then you ask them where they are from and it's always somewhere in Florida. 
We're in different start corrals so we smooch up our goodbye's  and I wander up to my area...although ML moved up a corral this year based on last years time.
With Fireworks, we're off at 6:00...and I settle into an easy flow. The roads at the start are broad and still the road is packed. I actually run into some other "Goofy" runners I met last year and we chat a bit.  If you're going fast enough most of the race is run in the dark and heading into the Magic Kingdom is a huge change from the dark roads. All here is light and sound and action and fun! Characters abound...Piglet, Alice in Wonderland, Captain Hook, Jack Sparrow... "Storming the Castle" is always a hoot and it's fun to sun through it to the sound of trumpets and with waves from a bevy of Disney Princesses...Quickly, we're out of the Park and heading back toward Epcot and in what seems like a flash  are zipping back around Space Ship Earth, past that wonderful choir that's there every year and then the finish....1:59, Chip time.
Fine with me as I have to run twice as far tomorrow. I grab some snacks and wait for my sweetie....she arrives in 2:42 better than last year but not as well as she could have...she stopped for ten minutes to care for blister at mile move. It turns out to be a big one and would have ruined the rest of her race not to mention another four days of having fun at the theme parks! We finally meet up, have our picture taken and head back to the Retreat for bags shoved into the legs of my shorts to mitigate some swelling.
I'm so proud of my girl...The next day,she tells me she feels like a runner. A big step.
We walk around the parks with our good friends Tim and Emily the rest of the day, but are off to bed early as I'm up again at 2:00.
Marathon day sneaks up on me. I'm sleeping and dreaming. I walk over to myself in the dream and say "Wake up! You have to go to a race!" I'm immediately awake and look at the's 2:00 and the alarm just begins to ring...
The same routine as the day before...Up, organize, bus,walk, Race retreat...
Training buddy and good friend of ML's, Janet, is already there...she's a denizen of the Disney Races, but we figure out it's her first full Mary in 7 years... We chat with others and eat bagels... Walk the walk at 5:00, into our starting corrals...
Now the title of this post is "Old Dog, New Tricks"... For the first time I'm going to run a race with an ipod. I know that just saying that will send some of the readers of this apoplectic.
I'm one of the folks that rails against folks running in races with headphones especially those who do it irresponsibly. (too loud, don't pay attention to what's going on around them...that stuff) How can I complain about them, if I don't know what it's like to run a race  with them...Know thy enemy, right?  
Off at 6:00 with better fireworks than yesterday....a loop around Epcot...through that park and off toward Magic Kingdom on the same course as yesterday although we'll get there at mile 10 instead of 6. Ipod on, I'm stoked with ELP, Kings of Leon, Pretenders, Cream, The Call, Incubus   and all sorts of other hair raising stuff. I am surprised at how fast the tunes seem to make things go...It keeps the mind off the pain at hand, and mind you now...Disney is a great production with lots of music and DJ's in the middle of nowhere...Music doesn't help with the GI problems though and I have to make two pit stops and lose some time...
Feel better and out of the MK and off toward Animal Kingdom... on the lanes that run through areas we never see as "guests." It's a lovely morning with the sun now up and temps heading up...again I see folks in tights and jackets. It's over 60 degrees now and they are suffering... (I'll count 7 people down in the last 6 miles...all wearing tights and long sleeves.)
Maintaining a steady pace, I'm slowing a bit but it's ok... Despite the headphones I chat with some folks and hear all the shouts of the water stop crews...years of biking have taught me to be hyper aware and I always look before I move right or left and point out my intention if I need too.
After AK the road hits a long empty bit before the Hollywood Studios...The music pumping in my ears makes this section easier, mentally, than the previous 3 years.
Through the Studios and down the path to Epcot...Walking a bit now the crowd is just stellar.
Before you know it I'm in Paris and mile marker 25...I wrap up the phones for the finish line pics...I have met the Enemy...and it's me! I won't train with music or run short races with one but long stuff? Oh, Yea!
No real "Wall" for me today...done in 4:34 by chip.
I recently read that listening to music while running (Runners World) increases endurance by 15%. I don't know if it does...but it sure makes it one hell of a lot more fun!
Disney is a slow race: of 14,940 finishers I'm 4,647 in the Mary. Average finish time 5:08.
                                       of 12,434 in the Half Mary I'm 1,902. Average finish time 2:35
While the Disney races aren't  for's a great first time race for those not focused on time. Even the Winner, who seems to win there yearly (2:20 this year) does it because it's so much fun!
Thanks to the ever beautiful ML and to Tim and Em and Janet for making this an especially good trip...


  1. Sweet!! Sounds like a fun time again.
    I do miss the Disney races but I have some other goals. I'll be back one of these days.
    I guess the iPod also took place of my yapping on the lonely back stretches.

    Great Job!!


  2. Running with an IPOD. Welcome to the 21st century! I got a Zune for Christmas! I love it.