Sometime last year, Scott and I had this silly idea to book a destination race. It was all fantasy, so I thought. The way this whole thing evolved is still a bit fuzzy, but it somehow turned into me signing up for my first marathon. I was really on the fence about it, but somehow Scott got a hold of a discounted entry fee, and somehow that was all it took for me to sign up. The internet is like tequila: it can really make us do some ridiculously impulsive things.
Luckily through the power of persuasion I was able to talk a few other folks into doing the marathon with me, so at least I’d have some people to train with. I started planning for the marathon/vacation like a soon-to-be bride plans her wedding, and before you knew it I had the room and flight booked, the training plan mapped out, and friends to share a room with. I cautiously looked forward to the marathon and promised Ronnie we would do all our long runs together. Then I broke my foot in October, and things got a little hairy. For seven weeks I couldn’t run until the break healed, which coincided with the peak of my training. In the meantime I tried to keep in shape by biking (which the doctor yelled at me for) and swimming (which the doctor yelled at me for), and eventually after seven weeks the doctor pronounced the break healed (despite my ill-advised activities). I never ended up doing a long run. I begged Disney to let me switch to the half marathon but it was sold out and they wouldn’t let me transfer. In December I started lightly running again, and was able to squeeze in three long-ish runs: 10 miles, 13 miles, and 10 miles. That would be the only “marathon training” I would be able to do. I knew it wasn’t enough, but I also knew I wanted to try to complete the marathon and if I had to walk a lot of it, so be it. I also made myself promise that if my foot started hurting again I would drop out. I am now training for the Boston Marathon in April and can’t afford more setbacks. After analyzing the course, I made a plan to run all of the boring highway sections, and walk through the parks and other landmarks. Loosely translated, it would be about 19 miles of running and 7 miles of walking. I felt pretty sure I could handle that, especially with sufficient walk breaks and given the fact that there’s not a single hill in the course. So after all that debating and convincing myself and my concerned friends, I finally decided just two weeks before the marathon that I would go for it!
Thursday morning, after a 4am wake up, I headed to Ronnie's house where his son brought us to the airport. We arrived in Florida by 10:30am, and Jaimee (my lunch running buddy) was just a few minutes behind us. Ahhh... warm, sunny Florida. The weather was perfect the whole time we were there! We checked into our super-cheesy pop culture hotel and then the three of us headed to the race expo.
Disney does everything on a grand scale, and the race expo was no exception.
We had to take a bus to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where we walked a long distance over to the field house to pick up our race numbers. Then, we had to walk another long distance to another building to pick up our T-shirts and the pins to go with our race numbers, which was in the heart of the expo. After spending a great deal of time navigating through the crowds and vendor tables, we headed out.
|Showing off the 5K and Marathon bibs. First time holding a marathon number--- eeek!|
Ronnie had a relative picking us up to bring us to the store for supplies, so we walked around outside until we could find her. Needless to say, it was only Thursday afternoon and my feet were already sore. My one condition I told myself was that I was going to have to take it easy with the walking before the marathon because I knew my feet would start bugging me, but Disney makes it impossible to make any walk a short walk. We headed over to the local Walmart, which turned into a bit of a scavenger hunt picking up supplies for me, Ronnie, Jaimee, Scott, and Tricia.
|Yay for southern Walmarts that sell booze!!|
Finally, late afternoon Scott and Tricia arrived at the hotel, just as we were finishing bringing up all the groceries. After talking to Scott for the last two years for work over the phone, it was great to finally meet him! Here's my "it's nice to meet you but my arms are too tired from lugging all your beer and water across the hotel to shake your hand" look.
|Note: Scott was either sitting on the bed, or possibly on the floor, when this picture was taken. You'll see why.|
Scott and Tricia ran into a bit of a hiccup checking into their room, but luckily they had nice neighbors to let them set up camp until they could get in! Once Scott and Tricia were somewhat settled in, they had to book it over to the race expo to pick up their packets and be back in time for dinner. We had dinner reservations at Planet Hollywood at 7:45pm, and now that we were starting to get a feel for Disney transportation, we knew they didn't have a lot of time to spare. After they headed out, the rest of us finally took advantage of some downtime and headed out to the pool. I was just so happy to be able to sit down!
Sure enough, Scott and Tricia became victims of Disney transportation issues, and ended up taking a cab to Downtown Disney, where Planet Hollywood is located. In retrospect, I wish we had done the same thing! As we found out the hard way, there were two bus stops for Downtown Disney, and we got off at the wrong one. So it was another very long walk to Planet Hollywood! On the bright side, it was fun walking past all the shops and smelling all the different scents of chocolatiers and restaurants.
For some reason, I didn't have very high expectations of Planet Hollywood. I expected it to be a mediocre meal, but every one of us had a great dinner and the atmosphere was... a little trippy to say the least!
|Tricia, Scott, Maureen, Ronnie, Jaimee, and Moi, hydrating like crazy!|
Dinner was made up of a strange assortment of friends. Scott (that I work with) and Tricia from Missouri, my friend Ronnie (that I ride horses with) from Rhode Island, Ronnie's friend Maureen that he works with from Boston, and Jaimee that I work with in Mass. We all became fast friends, and we managed to keep Tricia very entertained with our New England accents!
After dinner we headed back to our rooms for some much needed rest. Waking up at 4am was starting to take its toll, and I had a 5K to prep for!
|Laying out my race gear for tomorrow's 5K!|
Next up will be Friday's 5K and visit to Animal Kingdom!
Nearly all these photos are credited to Scott. Be sure to check out his blog too!