Thursday, January 17, 2013

RACE REPORT: Goofy Challenge Part I - The Half

Reader be warned:

You are about to be bombarded with a LOT of pictures!  
...and a rather long report.  
Feel free to scroll through. 

Let's get to it...

Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge Race Report Part I:
Donald Duck Half Marathon

Over the past four months, I've been coaching 14 people from the American Liver Foundation's Liver Life Challenge Team for the Disney Marathon weekend.  The following is a report of the first of two races.  I was not racing for time, but to support the team, so I got a LOT of pictures (over 550 in total) and had quite the different race experience than I've come to be used to. 

I flew in on Friday and arrived at Orlando International around 3:30pm.  The airport wasn't the most confusing one I've been in, but it certainly wasn't easy.  I got off the plane, caught the shuttle, went down to level A1 to get my luggage, redirected back up to level 2 and over to level B1 to catch my bus to the hotel.  Phew!  That was confusing enough!!

From here on out it was easy.  Disney certainly does their best.  From the airport, I got the Disney Magical Express bus to our hotel, the Coronado Springs Resort.  About 15 minutes later, we arrived, I quickly got checked in, and then headed out to find my building - this place was HUGE!!  And about a quarter mile later, I found it. I got my running stuff all laid out, set my computer and camera up to charge, and headed off to find where we were supposed to meet for dinner in an hour.
We had an awesome pre-race dinner and concluded the talks and chat around 8pm.  From there, I took a quick ice bath (why not try preventative care?), watched Total Recall, and headed to bed.  We had to be back at the convention room by 3:15am for breakfast, so it was going to be quite the early day!

I woke up at 2:40am, which I now realize was not the best decision.  I thought I'd get up early to help get breakfast ready and get the runners prepped for the upcoming run, but all I did was get myself early enough to listen to my stomach grumble for a half hour before I could eat.  Haha.  Oh-well.  We all got breakfast, I chatted with all of my runners and we headed out to catch the buses.  We were on the bus by 4am and down at the race drop off by 4:15am.  And it was already 65 degrees!
And here goes the pre-race line up crowd!  
 Get off the bus and walk towards the tents...
 Walk through the tents (baggage check) and walk towards the light...
 Walk down the service road (at least it had some music)...
 Walk towards the light and take a left after it...
Walk another 0.25 miles and you'll find the Start Line!

I had heard that it was a long walk to the start line, but it was a lot longer than I had presumed!  But we found our corral, got in line and waited for the start.  At 5:30am, they started the wheelchair division and at 5:35am, they started the road race.

Seven minutes later, I started with Corral B...

As I stated HERE before, my goal was to run with as many of my team members as possible.  I started off with Darien. 

She can only be this happy because it's only a mile into the race, right?  I only made it to mile 2 with her, but she seemed quite happy/bubbly the whole time.  

I stopped around mile 2 and waited for the next runner.  While I waited though, I started taking pictures.  And I still couldn't help but think "why are you guys stopping to take pictures during a RACE?"  It hadn't sunk in just yet.

Next up was Nick!  Let's just call him very photogenic!  haha.  Nick's dad had signed up for the race, but bailed on it, so he decided to race in his place.  I had been running around an 8:00 pace with Darien and then Nick came up blasting out 7:00 miles without a problem.  He had not trained for a half, but is a very active athlete.  He rocked this race without much trouble! 

While running with Nick, we went from the Epcot parking lot to the Magic Kingdom parking lot; it was all parking lots up until mile 5.5.  I let him run ahead and I waited around for the next runner.  During that time I saw the craziest costume of the entire weekend; Cinderella in a full gown!

Then Ashley ran by, but unfortunately I didn't snap any photos!  Sorry Ashley!  We had just gotten into a part of the Magic Kingdom when I let Ashley run ahead and I picked up with Shanna.  We exited the main roads for service roads and then came back in RIGHT AT the road up to the castle!  Many photo ops were taken in the next half mile!  Two miles after picking up Shanna, I let her go and waited at mile 6 for the next runner.  I waited a good 20-30 minutes and got to see a lot of fun costumes including another pass of Cinderella (which was not the last).  

Manuel & George came by next.  They had started together and ended up running the entire race with one another!  What a pair.  A little back story - Manuel was George's surgeon for his liver transplant.  So this group, for many reasons, was very close!  

These guys were doing great!  When one slowed down, the other pulled him along and vice versa.  We did end up having one calf cramp, but with some extra water and a short stretch, they were good to go!

Along the next four miles with George & Manuel, I saw a few things that quite impressed me.

  • The sheer amount of Biofreeze Disney had on hand.  
  • The amount of presence Team in Training had on course, both as racers and cheering parties.
  • The number of cones Disney used to block traffic.  I swear they have stock in the industry.  
  • The number of volunteers on hand at aid and medical stations.  

And then I got one of my favorite pictures of the day...

George & Manuel running into the sunrise

  At mile 10, I let my boys head off after a quick stretch and I'm proud to say they made it to the finish without any further issue!  After discovering that I'd get bit by ants if I stand in one place on the side of the road, I started walking back to find the next runners. 

I caught up with David from the Cleveland team who I also did not get pictures of (I'm sorry - I was still getting used to the coach / photographer position).  haha  But I did catch Abby from the Cleveland team. 

Abby had her coach Heather on her tail and to her own credit, we were able to put some distance between them.  She certainly was getting tired - with more than a viable excuse after 10 miles - but she moved up those hills!!  She did awesome!!

I hung with Abby until Mile 11 and then let her run the finish!

Speaking of hills, this is a view of the road just after the 10 mile mark.  We ran up the road, took the off ramp on the right, passed what had to be my 2nd favorite set of characters (the army men - more to come on them with Part 2), and over the bridge this picture was taken from.  You got a good view of the people below!

At Mile 11, I caught another runner from Cleveland.  This time I hit my all time low by not getting a picture OR remembering her name.  Fail!!  I ran a mile with her and then waited up for Peggy and Tina who I had already seen coming up behind.

Peggy is one of our staff members and while she strongly stuck to the notion "I am not a runner," she proved differently not long after I caught up with her (only 1.5 miles later). 

Then I finally caught another one of MY runners, Tina!  She has such a sigh of relief when she saw me!  Tina was my only Goofy Challenge runner and I'll say it now - she was SMART!  She knew when to back down, but she also wanted this run SO BAD!! 

I ran with her from Mile 12.5 to almost 13 before I turned back; we had two more runners out there! 

I never did find Walter from either the Cleveland or Virtual team (can't remember which one he was from), but I did catch Caroline!  Caroline had gotten sick the week before the race and showed up in Disney with a constant cough.  This lady was a TROOPER!  She would put the army men at mile 10 to shame. 

I'm sure she'll say she wasn't proud of her time, but she had quite a tough day out there and earned every moment of it.  That's the attitude I like!

We rounded the final turn in Epcot, snapped a few photos, and headed to the finish...


Every runner that started the day, made it past the finish line!  Day = Success! 

Final Time
17:49 pace

Ok, not my best performance.  haha

But the day certainly wasn't over yet.  It was only 9:30am!!  Haha.  Crazy, right?  We got our finisher photos, relaxed at the American Liver Foundation tent, got a massage (which was $1 per minute), and then got in another line to get back on the bus to the resort. 


On the bus ride back, I ate a good 1000 calories of Clif bars (those suckers are GOOD!).  Once in the room, I downed a couple bottles of powerade/gatorade, filled a large bag with ice and took an ice bath!  I sure do hate getting in the tub full of ice and cold water, but I feel great afterwards.

I took a quick shower to warm back up and had planned on napping, but didn't feel tired at all, so I headed back out to check out the expo.  I was excited.  I mean, I've seen some pretty good expos, but you gotta' presume that Disney does it even  better, right?

Wrong!  Don't get me wrong.  There were a LOT of big names represented and plenty of cool things to look at and even eat, but I had hoped to find some running clothes, but you found out quickly that they had been picked over a long time ago.  So I perused the booths, checked out Garmin and Polar, tried on some Zoot shoes (which I did like), and then headed back to the room disappointed.

The rest of the day was relaxed.  I got some food once I was back, uploaded my pictures, rearranged my gear for the next day, and then headed out to the pool.  I stayed out for awhile and then was hungry again; Surprise!  I went and got MORE food and then met up with Matt, one of my runners I had never actually met, at the resort lounge.  We watched some football, chatted about the marathon, and then I was off to bed. 

Off to bed in order to get up early the next day!

One race done!  One more to go!


Ok, I couldn't help myself.  Here are some other random pictures of characters, scenery, and runners from the race...




1.  Do you run for fun or with a competitive mindset?  Are you able to do both?
This was my second run NOT for time and I quite enjoyed it!

2.  Do you take pictures during a race?
Obviously I would never think to because I'm always racing for competition, but without that aspect, it becomes very fun to run with a camera, though Disney makes it much easier to have fun with that.  Most other races are just the natural scenery. 

Dream.  Believe.  Achieve. 


Coy Martinez said...

So, I'll admit, I read about 80% but I loved seeing all the pics. I felt like I just met a whole new gang of friends. One of the races on my bucket list is Disney.

I run both competitively and with friends. I enjoy both and usually ending up running half for time and half with friends during the year. I get asked A LOT to pace people who are running their first marathon. I'm a pack mule and can hold a certain pace for a long time. Guess I should look into leading a pace group huh??

Looks like you had a great time!

CautiouslyAudacious said...

I remember taking pictures during my Sedona marathon but it was so pretty and with that many hills I knew I was just running to finish I had no time goal in mind. Other races I run to meet a goal. Looks like you guys had fun!