As seems to have become habit, we go to Florida every Winter to run at Disney...ML does the half marathon and I do the Goofy Challenge. I run the Half Marathon on Saturday and then get up and run the Marathon on Sunday. Goofy...This year, if completed...I'd become "Perfectly Goofy."
The weather forecast for the weekend is NOT the best. 35 degrees on Saturday and then mid 20's on Sunday for the long one.
The ankle forecast for the races is 80%. It's runable, but gets testy at speed...so a slow race. Most every year I tell myself I'll hop out of the race and have pics taken with Disney Characters, but I never do...this year will be the year for it.
Saturday Morning at 2am we're up and rolling to the race. My wave goes off at 5:40. ML at 6.
Thank goodness Disney provides a bus from their hotels...
It's 35 degrees with wet stuff possible. On site we go to the Runners Retreat (money well spent) and while there, the sleet starts. Sleet. In Florida. Last year it was 70 degrees.
We meet Becca, a cranberry grower, who we instantly like. We chat and then about 5:15 we head off to the start, which is a bit of a walk. Into our corrals and getting ready. Besides our race togs we sport nice thick plastic bags for warmth and wind protection....the sleet comes down heavier.
At 5:35 the wheelies head off in a shower of fireworks. My wave is next at 5:40 and off we go in a shower of yet more fireworks!
Not much to it after that just running in the dark...good lighting when needed though and a few places on the course it's a bit tight, but no worries. At one point though, a woman tries to come around me on the shoulder of the road trips and falls right in front of me! Jedi reflexes and I vault over her hoping for a good ankle landing. I stop to help her up and she is quite sheepish and says she's sorry, but sprints away. Over and through the Magic Kingdom and back to the finish area at Epcot. I'm in at 2:12, a PW (personal worst) for me, but the ankle holds up well and I'm ready for the Marathon. ML comes in in 2:37... PR for her! (she IS my hero!)
The sleet and rain never really stopped the whole time.
Folks at cold races bring throw away clothes to wear to the start. Old shirts. jackets,sweat pants, that they toss when the gun goes off. Usually the clothes are donated to charity after cleaning. This was the first race I've ever seen where folks would discard clothes and people behind them would pick them up and put them on! Nothing Compared to what I'd see on Sunday.
2am comes early (duh) two days in a row. and this time I'm off to the bus alone. The TV said 25 degrees. The bus driver says it's 22. In Florida.
Runners Retreat where I meet Becca again (running her first Goofy) and together we walk over to the start...off again at 5:40 this time I'm loaded for bear. iPod, camera, gels and three layers of spandex. More folks scarfing up tossed clothes AND plastic bags. From Epcot over to Magic Kingdom...to Animal Kingdom then the long bit to Hollywood Studios and back to the World Showcase at Epcot. This time though I'm snapping pics of the course, mile markers and of course Characters. Mary Poppins IS quite lovely. The Princess and her Frog are out and stunning... Alice, Tweedle Dum and Dee, a Wicked Step Mother or two... and later Mr. Incredible, Mike Wishowski, Green Army Men and the two above. Russell and Mr. Fredrickson from the movie UP! (See it, you'll cry).
The aid stations become skating rinks in the cold but the Disney crews are out quickly with sand...still, trying to run through them is foolish. I see several falls. My energy gels are chewable and I never really break a sweat it's so cold. Definitely Jens factor 5 (see previous post)
All the pictures and the fact I have to pee like a race horse every so often (kidneys over produce in the cold) make for a slow race. Another PW (5:12) but I just don't care. This was F-U-N!