So let's recap the week leading up to the race. On top of being pregnant, I fought with a pineapple plant 5 days prior to this race and ended up with a scratched cornea. 3 days prior to the race, and on our way down to Florida, the stomach big that went around my house finally caught up with me, and I spent Thursday and Friday recovering from that. Saturday, the day before the race, I completed the first half of the Glass Slipper Challenge, the 10k, with my husband. During that race, I really made some part of my lower back angry and spent the rest of Saturday barely able to walk. So all of that in a matter of 5 days before this half marathon. Not cool. I went to bed Saturday night, after a feast at my favorite Disney restaurant, Ohana.
|The Mister, enjoying a Lapu Lapu and Ohana|
Ha, no. I woke up quietly early Sunday morning, as not to wake my husband. All of my previous Disney race weekends, with their 2:45 am wakeup calls, were spent with one or more of my DisBroads, all racing with me, so there was at least a little camaraderie to put some pep in our step the morning before a race. Not this time. I climbed out of bed and knew right away that my back pain had not eased up in the night. I had two choices, get back into bed and take a DNS, knowing there was a good chance I would get swept from the course, as I couldn't maintain the 16 minute mile pace, or even close. Or I could get dressed, shuffle along and hope to get as far as I could on the course. I chose the second option. I had to give it my best shot and hope to get as far as I could. Maybe I could make it. I had too much riding on finishing the race not to start. Not only was it the second half of a challenge, but this was the second half of my Coast 2 Coast races. Adding a 4th baby to our family and seeing how much work and money went into getting me out to the west coast for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon the month before, the chances of me being able get back out there for another shot at C2C in another year were extremely slim.
I got dressed quietly, got all of my gear together, and set out for the monorail to get to the starting area, where friends were waiting for me. My body was tired. I wasn't able to fuel properly before the race, except for Saturday, thanks to the stomach bug I had. I was already worn out from that growing a human thing(that second trimester energy boost they talk about, lies, all lies). I made the walk from the monorail to the start. I remember doing the same last year, being so excited about it all, the atmosphere was electric. This year you could practically hear the Imperial March, like I was trudging to my death. I finally met up with my DisBroads and was as ready as I was going to be.
|The Zurg to my Buss, the She to my Nanigans, DisBroad Patty|
|The good guys, with DisBroads Bonnie and Summer|
The long hike to the corrals seemed extra long this year.
The first couple of miles were a blur, but I made it. I stayed all the way to the very far right of the course, in the grass even, to stay out of the way of runners. One thing I noticed is that you can stay as far right as possible, and you will still get groups of runners cutting around you, calling that they are passing, and acting like you are the scourge of the earth for being in their way. I even had an official Clif pace leader and group cut around me like that. I've heard a lot of frustration in various runners groups online about slower runners and walkers and the lack of etiquette in terms of them crowding the course, not staying to the right etc, but I learned during PHM 2014 that this is a two way street. If slower folks should stay to the right, then passing to the left should be just as common, and zipping by those of us all the way to the right isn't cool. Especially if you are a pace group leader. If you don't understand the basic(although still unwritten) rules for racing, don't volunteer to lead a pace group and set the example for a bunch of people. Rant over.
You will notice a lack of pictures here. Because I didn't stop. I had to choose very carefully when to stop, because of my slower than it should have been pace. I was averaging 18-19 minute miles that early on. In the Florida heat, I had to make sure I was staying hydrated, and with my stowaway on board, that made for many bathroom breaks. Those nasty portapotties actually became a bit of a respite, because it meant I could sit down, even for 30 seconds, and meant a small break from the pain. By this point, taking steps sent sharp pain from my lower back, down my legs. People here and there stopped to make sure I was okay, I was visibly limping. Each mile was a milestone. I set very short goals, just make it to the next mile. After starting in corral E, it was only a few miles before I started seeing L and M corrals. But I couldn't focus on that. I just wanted to get to the next mile, and maybe even the castle.
I did eventually get to the castle. At this point, the walkers had caught up to me. No, not in some Walking Dead, eat your brains kind of way, but I was starting to be passed by the back of the pack folks. This isn't a bad thing, just an indication of how slow I was really going. I made it into Magic Kingdom and felt a bit of relief. I wasn't a fan of heading down Mainstreet USA, all the folks cheering. I felt stared at, on display and extra slow. The worst part is, people tried to cheer me on and motivate me, as if my pace was some indication of my ability. "Go Buzz, activate your jet pack, get moving, you can do it!"
DisBroads Patty and Julie were taking the course together and we passed each back and forth. They caught up to me and passed me, they stopped for a picture and I caught up to them and passed them, and we danced this tango over and over. I shuffled along and before mile 10(yes, I was still at it at mile 10!), they caught up to me again.
Even though I felt like I would actually make it to the point where they stopped sweeping, it was still very hard mentally. By this point, coming up on mile 11, I was more than ready to be done. I had been on the course for over 3 1/2 hours. The fog had burned off and now the hot Florida sun(yes, they have that in February too) was beating down. I was still in pain. I was tired. Who knew it was actually a lot harder to walk a half marathon at close to a 20 minute pace than it was to run one at a 10 minute pace?
After mile 11, I knew I was going to make it. I started to get texts from my husband, checking in on me. I made it down the last overpass and towards Epcot. I saw a very welcome sight when I got to the entrance.