Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rich gets what he deserves in Disney

Another beatdown. Ouch.

Used the same title for my Mississauga marathon when a stumble at 40k led to total leg cramping and forced me to walk in the last 2k, netting a 4:09 instead of a good shot at breaking 4 hours. This time was worse.

I never had my head in the game after suffering a calf strain playing tennis 2 weeks ago, and didn't even expect to start until the day before. As such I never planned my race, and never truly believed that I could finish. Without a rational game plan I started off by running intervals between characters trying to see if I could still do a 4 hour race.

Monumentally poor strategy. Since I hadn't run or stretched in almost 2 weeks, my muscles were stiff and never had the proper flow. Thankfully all of the photo ops in Magic Kingdom ( I was running with my camera and stopping at all the characters) cost me too much time and when I crossed the half at 2:05, I put the 4 hour goal to rest and decided to have fun. That lasted for @ 4 more miles before I started struggling with a seriously upset stomach. Not sure if it was a result of the powerade, all the garbage I was eating between Disney & Universal, lack of a huge BM on race morning or all of the above. But I started to find that anything above a fast walk made me feel very sick. So, I walked, and walked, and walked, and whenever I tried to ease back into a jog just to finish it got worse. The smart choice would've been to quit, but I had to get that Mickey medal for my kids. Besides, most schmucks can train and do a sub 4 hour race, it takes a real man to drag himself over the finish line while whining and bawling.

So, I must've walked for a good 2 hours straight, which was especially tough on a 1 mile out & back stretch after 20 miles that I really really wanted to cut short. But, I figured I wouldn't be able to rightfully claim my medal that way so kept dragging myself along. It was by far the most MISERABLE experience of my running career. Everything felt like garbage at that point, my stomach refused to allow me to increase the tempo, and my feet were ACHING. Hit mile 22 just before entering Hollywood studios, and realized that this was no fun, and whats the point of running if it's not fun? Time to change things up.

I got a couple more photos with disney characters from the incredibles and the old guy from UP, and then promptly walked off the course and headed to Star Tours, their redesigned 3d Star Wars ride simulator. It was farther than expected and when I found it I saw there was a 20 minute wait, I begged them to let me go on the fast pass lane, but no dice. So, I waited! Made lots of new friends who were at first impressed that I must've come straight there from the race, and then even more impressed (or puzzled) when I explained that I wasn't done yet, but felt like taking a ride. Really enjoyed the ride and everyone's encouragement and started running back to the race course, and was thrilled to discover that I could jog again. Of course that ride and detour cost me @ 40 minutes and it was now 5 hours into the race, but who cares? I could jog in the finish and was now having a blast.

Except I couldn't quite jog it in. I needed to run again. My legs still felt like lead but my stomach was settled and it was time to find out what type of guts I had. The only thing slowing me down now was the tight course and all of the other runners and walkers still out there. Still stopped for all of the photo ops, and even got one with Donald and Goofy just before the Finish line before putting it to bed in 5:33, It may be an hour and 40 minutes off my PR, but I was never more proud to wear my marathon shirt as I was today on the way home.