The day before the marathon, I wanted to rest my legs as much as possible. Not a ton of walking around at the parks, just some relaxing to make sure that I was ready. Boring, but worth it.
Race morning dawned and the weather was awesome. When I started stalking the forecast ten days out, Sunday was predicted to be very, very hot. But as the days got closer, the forecast got better and better. I think ultimately, the low was predicted to be 52 and the high 71. Still a bit warm, but much better than last year. I thought that maybe I could have a good race. Perhaps even hit 6:30.
I bundled up in my throwaway gear and headed out. It wasn’t too cool yet (the coolest part of the night is typically right before the sun rises), but it was humid. So the sunrise would be good and bad – good because it would burn off the fog but bad because it’s a glowy ball of fire intent on roasting my skin.
Chilled with friends at the Family Reunion Area, then headed over to the corrals. I headed over early to hit the portapotties, which was so worth the stop. No lines! Made it to the corral and plopped down for the eternal wait. This year, Disney added corrals to try to ease congestion. Last year, there were corrals A-H. This year, we had corrals A-P (if I’m remembering correctly). Each corral was much smaller. I was in corral M. For the first time ever at a Disney race, I could see the screen so I had an idea of what was going on up on stage with the announcers. I know they annoy some, but at least their patter takes away from the boredom. Plus once the race started, it was nice to see the other corrals go off. With a few minutes between each, it took a while. I didn’t start til around 45 minutes after the initial gun.
The always lovely Angie joined me in the corral and we ran together for a while. We were attempting a 1:1 pace, and my goal was simply to stay under the 16 minute mile pace. I wanted to stay under 15, but the crowding wasn’t going to allow that. That’s right, it was still pretty crowded with walkers. I have nothing against walkers, but when the course is that narrow, it’s just tough to find a spot to run. In the first 7 miles, I gained 7 tenths of a mile according to my Garmin, mostly due to darting around people (I know GPS isn’t fully accurate, but that’s a lot to gain in 7 miles, so I’d say I was doing a lot of people dodging).
Poor Angie was nursing an injury, so we parted ways in Animal Kingdom. I considered stopping to ride Everest, but I was feeling good so decided to continue on. I picked up speed at this point and the middle 10 miles of the race were pretty great. I started to see a PR in my future. Not that that was going to be a challenge.
Or so I thought.
Around mile 17, my feet started to hurt. The bottoms of my feet, mostly. I could feel blisters forming on my little toes, which naturally roll under my feet. So those blister no matter what I do on runs over 15 miles or so (blister powder and Injinji socks are my usual solutions). But the soles of my feet started to really burn.
And with the heat pounding down from the cloudless sky and radiating off of the road, I just started to melt down.
I went through a huge range of emotions, from anger to frustration to wanting to quit. But I knew I couldn’t quit. I had less than ten miles to go. I could finish. So I just kept up the slog. By around mile 20 or 21 (I haven’t looked at my mile splits yet), I was resigned to walking. I was walking at a decent clip, but still just walking.
I came to a conclusion during these miles. This was my second marathon. And I still really wasn’t enjoying it. I didn’t enjoy the training and I certainly wasn’t enjoying the race. So I decided to take marathons off the table for the near future.
Finally making it into Hollywood Studios was a great feeling because I knew I was nearing the finish. And that’s where I ran into Shirisha, who was running her first marathon as part of the Dopey Challenge (5k, 10k, half, and full). She had walked the entire race and was clearly going to finish, but had decided that maybe marathons weren’t for her. She commented that doing Dopey probably wasn’t the best way to do her first marathon. I disagreed – after all, if she had known how tough the marathon was going to be, would she have signed up for Dopey in the first place?
So we chatted and then parted ways as she stopped for a photo at the entrance to Epcot.
Now I was finally almost there. I hobbled along, wanting to stop for a frozen alcoholic drink but not wanting to stop for fear I wouldn’t start again.
And I hobbled and hobbled. I did manage to run through the finish, however, and high-fived Minnie and Mickey, as all good Disney runners try to do. And I made it. Marathon number two complete.
PR? Nope. 2 minutes slower than last year. Not that I cared. I was just glad to be DONE!
I grabbed some ice and went to the Family Reunion area to meet up with friends and ice the soles of my feet. They just ached. And my feet were blistered in weird ways. I had blisters on the outside of both heels and on the side of my left foot, near the ball of the foot. I have never blistered like this before, and I’m not sure why. I wore the same shoes I wore on my 20 miler, and they’re about midway through the typical life I get from them. But man, they were some fancy blisters. It’s now Thursday, and they’re still here, though not as painful. Just gnarly.
I spent the rest of the day hobbling around, not from muscle soreness, just from blister soreness. I think my ice bath really helped that one.
I’m not disappointed in my finish at all. I powered through and didn’t give up. On one hand, I’m frustrated that my training pace wasn’t at all reflected in my race pace. On the other hand, I know my training could have been better.
I’m also confident that I have no desire to do a marathon for a while, though that’s something I was saying during training as well. I’ve been saying for years that I want to do the Disney marathon in 2016, since it will fall on my 35th birthday. I’m not sure that’s something I want to do anymore, but I don’t have to make that decision until April of 2015, so it’s nothing to worry about now.
For now, I’m going to focus on half marathons and figure out a triathlon training plan for this summer’s season. Maybe I’m just not built for marathons. And that’s okay.
Besides, I got the medal to prove that I did it. I don’t need another one, right?