Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marathon Weekend - Marathon Sunday

Sunday was an early wake-up call. I’m not even sure I can classify it as Sunday morning because it felt more like Saturday night. I slept fitfully but woke up a little more energetic than last year so I was happy. Our alarm went off at 2:15am and from there, my mom and I quietly got ready. The night before, I had laid out all my clothes, taken a shower, and packed up my backpack with all our necessities (hotel key, park pass, Kindle, blanket, food, drinks (which I put in the morning of), flip-flops for when it warmed up, socks and Vaseline for my mom, and the spectating guide of where to go for each checkpoint, to name a few things). I woke my brother up at 2:45 and we were all ready to go by 3:00.

It was only about 54 degrees when we left the hotel and we were all happy, saying how nice the weather was. FAMOUS LAST WORDS! I dressed in a long-sleeved T-shirt, big hoodie, skinny jeans, socks, boots, a hat, and mittens. I felt overdressed for the weather but didn’t care. I was warm so I was happy.

Once we arrived at the race site, we had 45 minutes - 1 hour to wait until my mom had to be in her corral. So we parked ourselves on the ground near a tent and didn’t say much, just watched the other runners getting ready and taking pictures. Around 4:15, two of my mom’s co-workers popped bye to say hi. They ran the Goofy Challenge this year (running the half-marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday) and then the three of them left to find their corrals. Pictures were taken, “good luck”’s were exchanged, and then my brother and I headed over to the Mile 4 viewing area which was about a five-minute walk from where we left her.

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Mhm, that is a blanket. It was 50 degrees and she was wearing shorts.

It was only about 4:30 then and we had at least an hour to wait until the race started and a good two hours until she would pass us. The viewing area was PACKED but we found a spot and I sat down on the blanket and read on my Kindle for most of the wait time. Unfortunately, the weather started dropping until it was 50 degrees and FREEZING. I don’t know how I handled the low thirties last year because I was so incredibly cold while waiting. This part is the worst of marathon spectating because there’s not much to do, it’s super crowded, and nothing is happening. It’s all very boring.

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But soon, the race started! Fireworks go off as each corral is “let loose”. There were about 14,000 people racing the marathon so there were a LOT of people to view. At the Mile 4 marker, you can see the runners taking off but they are on the other side of the street so unless your runner is wearing a blinking Tinkerbell costume (yes, there was), you probably won’t be able to see them. It’s very congested and very difficult to distinguish between the runners. So we patiently waited for the runners to come down the other side. It was very slow going to watch as the leaders ran by and then the other 3- and 4-hour marathoners ran by. I knew my mom would be somewhere in the 6-hour pacings but I enjoyed watching all the other runners, especially the ones who dressed up. There were a couple of dudes dressed in princess dresses, lots of runners dressed as Goofy, and even Papa Smurf - right down to blue body paint. I mean, I don’t think I could run a marathon dressed normal -- there is no way I could do it dressed as a character!

We finally saw my mom pass Mile 4 and she handed us her jacket, gave us both a quick hug, and was off! At that time, she was running a little ahead of her goal pace (she wanted to finish in 6 hours) and was looking strong and happy, so I felt a lot of relief!

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We could see the runners on the monorail. So awesome!

From there, my brother and I hopped onto the monorail that would take us to Epcot where we would see Mom pass at Mile 9. It was pure madness finding a spot to view the runners at each stop and this one was no difference. Luckily, all you have to do is park yourself somewhere and once the person in front of you sees their runner, they leave and you get their spot. I was able to get a great photo of my mom as she stopped for a quick break, telling us she was doing terrible (pace-wise). I handed her two Twizzler’s, told her she was awesome, and off she went!

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My brother and I then walked over to Mile 12.5 to await her arrival. Last time, we got crazy-lost while trying to find this spot so I asked a volunteer this time around and was given perfect directions. We still had at least 45 minutes until we would see her so we sat on the grass a little farther away from the runners. At this point, my feet were killing me so I was happy to relieve the pressure on my feet. (Although I know my mom’s were hurting MUCH worse!) When we saw her at this mile, she stopped for a bit to switch out her socks and slather Vaseline all over the bottoms of her feet. Last year, she got terrible blood blisters at the bottom of both her feet a little over halfway through the race so we had made this plan in advance.

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And now the next time my brother and I would see my mom was at the end so we got into an incredibly long line on the monorail to Epcot. Once at Epcot, my mom texted me that her leg was seriously hurting her and she didn’t know if she had it in her to finish. This wasn’t like my mother at all so I was pretty worried at this point. She decided to keep going until she got pulled out. From there, my brother and I got a little snack at Epcot and had a great viewpoint of the runners closing in on Mile 26. While there, Mom texted me “5.2 until I FINISH” so I knew she was going to finish the race.

Around noon-ish, I found a place to sit and watch the runners come in. It was so neat to see them finishing up, especially when they heard the finish line was right around the corner. And there were quite a few runners who stopped before the finish line to get a frozen margarita. Ha! I found this hilarious. :) Also, my mom got beat by a blind power walker. Now that? That is impressive! It took a while but my brother and I finally saw her come down the path to the finish! She looked happy so I snapped a quick picture and then we headed out of Epcot to go to our meeting location.

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And here she is! Two-time marathoner! I think she looks super hard core in this photo!

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My mom had pretty bad knee pain during the last half of the race, which made it basically impossible for her to run at all. She’s never had any kind of knee pain so it’s very odd. She pulled her hamstring muscle sometime in November and though she’s been using a heating pad and gotten two sports massages to try to heal it but it’s been a persistent pain that isn’t going away. That bugged her, too. Other than that, she’s doing great! Her legs feel good and while she did get two blisters on her feet, they are nothing compared to last year.

In any event, this is most likely my mom’s last marathon. This one took a LOT out of her mentally, fighting through the urge to quit. Marathons are no joke and she doesn’t think she has it in her to train for another one. Half-marathons are her sweet spot and I think she’s going to focus on those and improving her speed.

In any event, she ran two marathons. That’s an incredible feat for anyone and no matter if it took you 3 hours or 7 hours, it’s still amazing. As is she.

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