Friday, January 23, 2009

My Marathon Experience, part 2

.....continued from previous post
At some point here, we headed into the Animal Kingdom – where there were lots of cast members there – cheering us in.

The thing that was so neat about the Animal Kingdom was….we had JUST run thru here on Friday! I loved that!
(why do people feel the need to change settings on a camera?? They messed up about 7 pictures)

So, I quickly realized that I still needed to go potty since about Mile 14! So, as soon as we made the turn into Asia, I ducked into the nearest RR.

How funny! The bathroom was FULL of marathoners-so-I potty’d – then gave my face and hands a good wash –and out – back at it!

Around past Everest, through DinoLand – and then out of Animal Kingdom. Just about then, they had a water stop, with ICE COLD sponges! AHH! That feels great. At this point, I am seriously into the sweat factor, and it is just getting hotter! Good stuff!

As I left out of AK, I had to walk. I had had another BioFreeze stop, but the pain in my left calf was almost unbearable, and it seemed like the BioFreeze was not lasting the complete mile between stops.

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! There’s Susie AGAIN!!! Wearing her Mickey Ears, holding a sign that said GO B GO! Oh my! How exciting! What a refreshing feeling to see someone! Thanks, Susie!!! What a pick me up!

Then, the real test, the miles I have dreaded from the beginning…miles 18-21. So, 19 was not too bad – but as we approached 19 – I saw the incline – and – I walked (GASP!) – the left calf was REALLY REALLY screaming at me!

At this point, my right hip was ok –as long as I was keeping the Biofreeze on it – but the calf – oh wow! So, I walked. Almost the entire distance of 19 & 20 and through the turn and then back to running through 21 and out!

I looked for Gretchen from mile 19 thru mile 21 – actually hoping that I would NOT see her, because I knew that if I did NOT see her, it meant she was on pace and gonna make it in under 5. So, no, I did not see her! Go Gmac Go!

And, I was about at the 4 hour mark, so I knew that Scott was finished or VERY close to finished. Somewhere around this time, as I was running, and calculating, I started thinking about the pain that I was in, and I thought to myself – I cannot comprehend what Scott has done. 13.1 yesterday and 26.2 today. I cannot even imagine how he is even accomplishing that! Unbelievable.
(yes, he finished! 4:29, my hero!)

So, back to me (hahah!) I made the turn just past mile 21 – and headed towards Hollywood Studios.

This is it! The end! The last 10K of the race!

I can do it! I really am about to be a “marathon runner”. I can hardly believe it. I think from this point on, I ran the last 5-6 miles of the race with a smile on my face. Seriously.

When we entered Hollywood Studios, I stopped for a pic near the sign and then headed in. Down the streets – near the stunt show – I saw the Power Rangers – Monsters Inc – the Incredibles – too fun!

We went thru the tunnel of the Backlot Tour – and then out – down those back streets.

I stopped to pose with a Green Army Man. He was fun. After the pic he put his arm in mine and we took off running – after a few steps, I asked him if he had 3 miles in him – with those flat feet- he stopped – saluted me – and turned around. Funny!

So, off I go again. Just after leaving the Army man, I saw a guy throwing up on the side of the street. I prayed that the Lord would send some assistance – or help him through it. I am sure He did.

Keeping on – through the streets of Hollywood Studios – around the Sorcerer’s Hat! Oh my goodness, this is amazing!!!

Down Hollywood Blvd, then to the left – and out! Ooops! There’s Winnie the Pooh, gotta stop for a photo!

Then out! Oh my! Less than 3 miles to go! AHHHHHHH!

Calf on fire! Hip VERY painful! And the bottoms of my feet! Ultra tender – with every step!

So, as we exit Hollywood Studios – I began scanning the crowd – and ask them out loud “anyone have a cell phone?” A lady ahead offers hers out, I pause, dial my mom’s number, and then take off running again, as I politely thank her, and say back to her “Call my mom, tell her I am still in it!”

Happiness, extreme Happiness!

At this point, I am evaluating every possible thing.
No, my time is not great.
No, I have not kept my 10 minute pace, like I had hoped.
No, I’m not still with Gretchen.

BUT, I reassured myself with this – I am still in it! That was 8 miles ago when she left – and for 8 miles I have pressed on – pain – tears – cheering crowds – characters.

Praise the Lord, I am gonna make it!

Around the Boardwalk, then towards the Beach Club, people lining the streets, every step of the way.

I so wanted to see someone I knew at this point. I was longing for a familiar face. I need to shed my ipod. I need to shed my spybelt. It was hot. And everything on me was weighing me down, though it seemed.

But, I did not. So, keep on keeping on. To the end of the Beach Club.


In to the back side of the World Showcase and the entrance by the infamous Red Telephone Booth. I literally said it outloud,”Here we go!”

Lines of people clapping, cheering, cow bells, everything! Plenty of inspiration to keep moving my feet, one foot in front of the other!

And, then the trek around the World Showcase. It got eerily quiet for a few minutes. As we started this leg of the race, the big Ball was on my far far left, almost behind me – and as I ran, it moved – closer and closer to the center – and then – it was in front of me – and then to my right, and there it was, just over there!

And, as we got to Mexico, and the crowds were full on ---lining the streets again, I mean, hundreds of people, on both sides, as far as I could see, I almost cried.

I stopped. I had to. I asked a guy to take my picture, he looked at me funny, but Mexico to me is the landmark I had set when we ran the 15K, and now that I was here, I really had to take it all in.

Ok, back to running. And, running good! Smiling, feeling it! I know that my feet were probably barely moving at this point, but it felt like I was speeding through there! Happy. Total Happy.

I took that right turn and the World Showcase was now officially behind me and the Ball (ok, I know it is technically a GEOSPHERE, but, give me a break!) was glaring me in the face.

Down the stretch, both sides LINED with people. And, when I say lined, I mean, like the 3:00 parade LINED, and EVERYONE cheering, clapping, exciting, and for the next 3 or 4 minutes:
“Go Brittney, Almost there”
“Way to go Brittney”
“Brittney, you’ve got it!”
“You are amazing”
“You are about to be a Disney Marathon finisher”
“Looking good Brittney”
“Almost there”
I mean, with every rotation it got better, and it felt like I got faster and faster. The fans were AMAZING! Who knew how much that would mean to me!

When I reached the Ball, and it’s enormity, I was surrounded by people cheering, and many of them, obviously NOT there to be spectators, but as they saw it – they decided to stop and cheer. I was so emotionally charged at this point.

Then- on towards the front – and OUT – to the right of the entrance, that same entrance just 5 hours ago – we had shuffled through – in the dark at the beginning of this journey.

Just out – THE CHOIR – full choir in robes – swaying – and singing – and I stopped (well, I kind of just paused) – YES! I know. So close to the finish, but just a second, to take it in..

I waved my hand in the air, lifting it in victory – in praise – thanking God, and the choir clapped and shouted! I am telling you--------Glorious, just glorious!

Then, yes, to the finish!

Thousands, upon thousands of people watching. I heard them calling my name, saying “You did it, Brittney, Great job”.

And, I held my head up, and ran it in – with such joy – and such a proud sense of accomplishment – and endurance.

Thank you Jesus.

There it is! The Finish Line. The clock. Lilo & Stitch! Pinocchio! And I think I saw Chip & Dale (but I was so busy being happy, I am not sure!)

Across!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just ran a marathon! I just ran a marathon!
Holy Crazy! I just ran for over 5 hours!!!!

I saw my family – I saw them all in the stands, cheering, smiling, and I saw Scott , proudly standing at the fence, waving, smiling that sweet-I-am-so-proud-of-you smile. I saw Susie and the girls.

Oh my gosh. I can’t believe it. I did it. I am still standing! I made it! And, I loved it.

Good grief, my legs are hurting, and I don’t care.

As I headed towards the recovery area, a cast member stopped me, and she said “Brittney, I am in awe of you. You are amazing” And she meant it. And we high fived. And I went on.

My emotions – just sitting in my throat – the girl that clipped my chip off of my shoe congratulating me over and over.

The girl that gave me my medal just glowing and happy.

It was GREAT!

Then, to get more Biofreeze. And, I asked the lady, what happens when this wears off in a few hours……….she laughed and said Call 911! Hahahaha

So, I grabbed a Sprite (man, I needed some sugar in my system!) and then for a photo of me and my medal!

Then, out to meet up with the family. Oddly enough, I beat them to our meeting spot! I was just so excited, and so happy!

They came, we hugged, photos, etc! My mom and Dad! My sister, her hubby and kids. My brother, his wife and kids. My Scott, my boys!
Gretchen and Lee were there! Goodness, happy!

I was cold, a little light headed, and my body was quickly tightening up. But, after a little rest and recovery (and a fabulous week on the Disney Cruise!) I live to tell about it!

And, when it is all said and done, it was one of the best experiences of my life!

My Marathon Experience

disclaimer: This is a very long entry. But, of course, it was 26.2 miles.

My Disney Marathon Experience

January 11,2009 (journaled Jan 12-15,2009)

The Beginning:
Up @ 2:30am – getting ready. The nerves were all ready in high gear. But everything went well – and we were headed to the marathon bus by 3:30am.

When we stepped off of the bus – it was cool outside – but not as cold as the day before – so that was good news!

We headed to the Cigna tent, our designating meeting spot with Gretchen and Lee. And we did all our our pre-race stretch and spybelt filling! Peanuts, jelly beans, e-gels, etc. And, as quick as we knew it, it was time to go!

We dropped off stuff @ baggage claim and went to start in the mile long line for the port-o-potty! I think I was in that line longer than I was in the race J

And, then – to the start line- Oh no! It’s official. I am about to do this for real. I have trained for this day, and looked forward to it, for 1 year now, and here it is. The day of!

So – a little pee break in the woods – yes, we JUST went, MOM, but – me and Gretchen had the nervous pee (well maybe me more than her) so we had to go again………..just to be sure.

Now- really – we are headed to the start.

The Start Line:
It seems like we were only there for a second, and we heard Mickey Mouse with the countdown. 10-9-8…..

And then we waited, and waited, and waited as thousands of people – trying to get moving. It was unreal.

Finally, we went through the start. Oh my! I am in a marathon. Seriously. This is so cool.

The Race
We shuffled and we shuffled along. Passing. Dodging. Darting. Trying to get through this crowd.

And, then, just like that, we see the Mile 1 sign. Wow! 1 down…..25.2 to go!

So, we talked – and we ran – the whole time – dipping – and moving.

At about mile 2.5 we head into Epcot! Under the sign, in through the turnstyles, all of them had been removed, and they had a pad over that area, and they tunneled us through the front, just past Spaceship Earth, and then down towards the World Showcase, turning left and headed out of the park. At this point, we saw Belle and her prince, and Mulan!

About mile 3 was our first water stop. We did not need it, but we did it just for kicks, to make sure we stay hydrated.

When we passed the Contemporary Hotel – I sure would have loved a Chef Mickey waffle! How fun! We just ate breakfast there Friday morning, and now……I am running right past it, under the monorail!

At about mile 7, we saw Lee…..perched atop a planter – just where Gretchen expected him to be! She was happy to see him – and he was smiling so proud – and snapping pictures! It was a great moment! And, a nice pick me up, just knowing that someone was on our team!

*I took this guy's pic for Lee*

Just after that, we stopped for water, and I grabbed a few advil, for good measure.

Still feeling GREAT!

As we got closer, and closer to the Magic Kingdom, you could hear the music - and the crowd – and it seemed like our pace picked up a bit. I think our adrenaline just made us move!

Here we go!

We entered just to the right of Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – and the streets were PACKED with people. Then, a sharp right at Goofy’s Candy Kitchen – and AHHHHH! Cinderella Castle! Main Street was light, and just beautiful, and just as fun and exhilarating as I expected it to be. The castle just ahead was so exciting and a HUGE part of my motivation for it all!

I told Gretchen, if they are gonna be here, let’s get to the left to see if we see them.

Quick to my right – I spotted Kristin’s fave guy – the Mayor of the Magic Kingdom.

I knew they must be there! And yes! On my left, I saw Kristin looking through her camera, Mason, Chapman, and my mom! Waving proudly! Cheering and happy to see us! Yes, here we are! We are still in it, and feeling great!

So, we slowed for a quick pic!

Woo –hoo! How fun! Thanks family for the moral support.

Ok, back to the pavement!

As we finished out Main Street, and began to take the curve to the right, I looked to my left, and the castle, and I told Gretchen, “I don’t care who you are, this is fabulous”. And it was!

In towards Tomorrowland. I am thinking to myself, this is the best day ever!

We saw Chip and Dale and Stitch there. So cute!

Then, passed the Tea Cups. They were going! The Mad Hatter was taking pics along the way.

Around by Pooh’s ride, we saw Pooh and Piglet, and the carousel was spinning, Dumbo was flying – I loved it all!

Ahh! The back of the castle. Here we go!

One of the most sought after Marathon photos!

Me------running through the castle!

Just above – they were sounding their trumpets, as if to announce our arrival. Man! It was the best!

Through the castle we went and I think we both smiled for a mile after that!

So, around through Frontierland, to see Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. But, the line was about 30 people deep, so we passed on by.

Then, we headed out of the Magic Kingdom – behind the scenes. We saw the Train conductor and his team. And, then Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew. Very fun.

We are approaching mile 13 @ this point – and still feeling great. We both commented on how great we felt, and that if we were only doing a half marathon, we would be finished. I, personally, was very encouraged that we were at the half way point and I still felt so good.

Down by the Grand Floridian lots of fans! All wearing Grooms & Brides Mickey Ears. Very fun.

Wait------------there’s Susie! Yippee! How cute is she! Taking our pic! She was wearing Mouse Ears! Yeah! Thanks SusieQ, you are the best!!!

Susie took this pic:

Ok, off we go – during a little more boring part of the race. Water stop – then mile marker – water stop – mile marker. Mostly roads at this point. Not a lot of hoopla.

The pain
About the beginning of mile 15, my right hip really started hurting. I told Gretchen and she was a great encourager – so we walked through the next water stop.

And, then picked it back up. But, it was very painful. VERY!

So, I began talking it through in my mind. If I keep it up at this pace, I might not make it to the end. If I slow down, Gretchen will not make her goal, and that is not fair to her. If I walk I will be disappointed. If I don’t slow down, I just might have an injury.

And, then, at mile 15.67 – I told her to go ahead. I had to slow down. She insisted NO. I insisted yes. And she could see that I was hurting. We had already agreed that we would stay together, and that was the goal, however, if need be, we would understand, and run on. No hard feelings.

And, so all of a sudden, she was ahead – and the gap between us got bigger and bigger and soon, I could not see her pink shirt any longer.

And, the tears fell – like a river – I thought to my self:

Oh no. She’s gone. I still have 10 miles to go.
I am hurting BAD.
What just happened?
I am defeated.
This is awful.

And, so, (still running, just slower) for the next few minutes – I stepped – and I cried –I hurt – and I cried.

Then an encourager beside me said – You’ve got it. You can do it.

And – I thought – You know what….I CAN!
And what an even stronger test of my endurance, and mental push----alone! Just me, and God……..and biofreeze!

I dried it up, and kept running.

And, I stopped just ahead @ the biofreeze tent, and I lathered up both knees, both calves. And off I went.

WAIT! I forgot to put it on my hip!!!!!!! DUH!

But, I kept going, knowing another medic tent would come again soon.

Mile 16 – powerade – then biofreeze

Mile 17 – again
I saw this couple and could not resist taking their pic!


to be continued.............

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Half Marathon

Up and at it, early. Again. This time, clock set for 2:30am.

Rise and Shine.

And we did.

We (me and the boys)went with Scott to meet Kristin and Susie at the start line. We waited for them to get there, and then as they headed to the start line, Me, the boys, and Jason, headed for our journey.

We went to watch them, as they fired the gun.......but.....because they were across the street, and it was PITCH BLACK outside, we did not see them. Not one of them.

So, off we went. To the monorail. First stop. Ticket and Transportation Center, and then we make a mad dash for the monorail to the Magic Kingdom. And, off we go.

Down the ramp and into the park, to get a cozy spot on Main Street! And, yes, here's comes Scott! Running at a great pace! He was so cute! I was so proud to see him!

I am glad Jason snapped this pic, b/c I was too busy getting him a bottle of water, that I missed the photo op!

Ok, back to the run.

Check out these guys! We saw them at the start line, and then saw them several times throughout the race. Woody ran the whole race with this hat. No joke!

So, then, just a little bit later, here come Kristin and Susie!

How funny are they! They were taking pictures and having a great time! I Love it!
Ok, off we go. No time to waste. We jet back to the monorail to do it all over again, to get back to Epcot, in hopes that we dont' miss them.
Jason and the boys were keeping up with the runners via text messages, and I was keeping up with the entire family on the cell phone. Everyone trying to get to the right place on time!

So, we did make it to the finish on time. Scott crossed looking like a champion. I mean, that guy is good looking, especially when he is looking like this! Just looking right at me! Goodness! I was so proud of him. 13.1 down...(well, and the 5K too) and only 26.2 to go tomorrow!

So, Scott got his medal, his water, powerade, etc, and headed out to the stands to be with us, while we waited for the girls to come in.
And, they did!
Smiling it in, across the finish!
Way to go, Kristin and Susie! I am so proud of you too!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Animal Kingdom 5k

**First off, If this picture does not scream FUNNNNNNN to you, well, you might need to look again! This was FUN!

So, it started off, nice and early. 7am, meaning we had to be there just about 6am to get ready, inline, on the bus, etc. I think our alarm went off at 4:30am.

Rise and Shine!

And we did!

We got there, looked for the rest of the family, but never did see them! We finally found Jason, Susie and the girls, and we did a little pre-race warm-up, led by the ever-funny Jason!

Lots of fun! The characters from the Lion King came out to start the race! They started us off, 10-9-8-.....and then fireworks!

Of course, we shuffled for a little while, and then the running began! Scott and Chap stayed together, and I stayed right behind them! Mas ran ahead and then double back, ran ahead and doubled back. He did that most of the race!

But, Chap stayed in there! We let him set the pace, and then we went with that!

I love this pic of him and Scott. Just trodding along, and having fun all the while!

Then, he would kind of change up! Hang with me for a while.

He looked forward to the water break at 1.5 mile, and then we picked it back up.

I passed this girl wearing this shirt, and I had to take her pic!

At the split, we passed most of the family, here's a cute one of Susie carrying Emma (yes, I know it is sideways, I am too lazy right now to edit it)

Then, we passed Grandmary and PawPaw, love those ears.

Then, Kristin (who had been at the ER with Strep Throat just the night before) skipping along with Justin!

And, the rest of the crew!

Yes, as you can tell, it was a fun run! For sure!

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