Sunday, March 1, 2015

It Went Great

I guess only my hip-to-knees region is Pepto Bismol pink. False advertising. Sorry. Also, I'm blonde now. 
I did it! Go me! There were no hiccups at all. I ran at the pace I intended to and even finished in the top half (tee-hee! Faster than 12,528 other people but slower than 7653) I want to say "it has CHANGED me!" We'll see if that turns out to be true. I am awfully proud of myself though. 20,182 people finished the race. That is a lot of people.  

Getting up at 2 AM turned out to be no problem. I ate my half a bagel with peanut butter and got a cup of coffee in the lobby then I met Kirsten and we got on the bus. There were thousands of people who were also doing the same things at the same time. I saw them doing it. Nobody seemed tired or as if we were doing anything unpleasantly unusual. We were all psyched. 

I mentioned that Disney is HUGE. I can't emphasize that enough. Our twenty-something-thousand-person race was just one thing that was going on on an ordinary day at Disney World. The scale just hasn't truly sunken in yet. Kirsten and I were shocked to find ourselves sitting in a traffic jam on the bus on the way to the course at 3:30 AM. Then we noticed that much of the traffic was big tour busses from our resort and from other resorts loaded with other runners. Imagine a traffic jam stretching on for miles made up of giant tour busses. Tour busses filled with thousands of people dressed up as princesses (and princes and frogs - I saw two frogs - and Elvis and Priscilla Presley and Prince.)

The view after getting off our bus

The view from my spot in my pre-start corral
It was a cool morning, in the fifties. I believe my group started about forty-five minutes after the first group did. There was a pre-race entertainment crew performing near the first corral, corral A, whose schtick was broadcast to us all over jumbotrons. When my corral arrived at the starting line the MCs made us sing the first stanza of "Don't Stop Believin'" before we could go. Though I hate Journey I didn't mind. It was fun and I was excited. 

After that it was kind of a blur. I focused on my strategy: start out slow and save some energy for the end. Pretty standard. It worked well. We ran or walked from Epcot to The Magic Kingdom and back through Epcot. On the way people would stop and line up to have their photos taken with characters like Aladdin, Cruella DeVille, Jack Sparrow and Mary Poppins and Bert. 

Running through the Magic Kingdom was kind of magical, I have to admit. It was pretty neat to be running up Main Street towards Cinderella's Castle with crowds cheering you on. I didn't take photos.

The sun came up and we kept running. People lined the course handing out water, sports beverage, Gu and encouragement. At the last half-mile there was a fantastic gospel choir singing. The course was very curvy at that point and I thought back to all the lines for rides I'd stood on the day before and how the curves made the length of the line appear deceptive. I wondered if this was some kind of Disney "you're almost there! No you're not!" joke. 

Finally there was the finish line and I was running towards it, amazed that I, me, had got myself in a position where I'd be racing people. Not just racing people but finishing and beating people. So strange!

I crossed the finish line pumping my arms over my head. Then what do you do? You follow the crowd. I got my medal and my fairy dust, my mesh bag, my drink and snacks. I walked through the barriers and it was done. I felt fine.

Long story short - I reunited with Pete and Kirsten and her husband, Ben, we caught the bus back to our hotel for some freshening up, then we went to Disney's Hollywood Studios

How has it "changed me?" Well now I see myself as someone who can do something. I got a medal for doing something. I did something that other people generally agree was worth doing and should be rewarded. Other people might be impressed if I tell them I did this. 

Most people have no idea what to think about most of the other things I do. I can't really blame them. They don't know from looking at a five-by-four-foot canvas covered with giant paper and crochet strawberries, pom-poms, glitter and mysterious mounds of white stuff that I spent months working on it, figuring out how exactly to express what I wanted to express, arranging everything so it's just exactly the way I want it to be, fretting that I might never get it to be "good enough." They may look at it and wonder why anyone would make such a thing. Most people may just look at it and think nothing at all. 

As seen in this entry
The things I think are important are not the things most people think are important. That's okay with me. It's just refreshing to finally have done something that I can explain to others in five words and have them smile and approve. 

Anyway, TRIUMPH! 

Kirsten celebrates her success with champagne in the shade behind the finish line stands
I am making a list of things I've learned from training for and running this half-marathon. For example I learned that some people chafe when they run and I am lucky that I don't. I also found out about "Shot Blocks" and "Gu" and what you're supposed to do with them. You're supposed to eat them if you're going to be running for longer than an hour to keep your muscles properly fueled so it feels easier to keep going. Shot blocks are much harder to chew at twenty degrees Fahrenheit than they are at sixty (I learned that too.) My favorite Gu flavor is Salted Caramel, which I prefer to Chocolate Outrage. Also, I don't recommend wearing glitter toenail polish if you're going to run more than five miles as the glitter can cling to your socks and yank your toenails around. Yep, that's gonna be some list. You should look out for it in coming weeks.