Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting in My Head

January 10, 2009...

3:30 am: I'm nervous. I'm excited. Did we forget anything? I'm nervous. I'm excited.

4:15 am: It is cold out here.

4:30 am: Nerves are calming. Excitement mounting. It's great seeing everyone before the race. Chris is in my corral...it will be nice having someone to start with.

5:00 am: Time to walk to the corral. Anticipation is creeping in. The next 45 minutes are going to be so slow. How long will this race take me? I have to get under 2:10. I need to do it for myself and for Dave's Challenge. I would love to be closer to two hours flat...but realistically I've never held that pace in any of my 10+ mile runs.

5:45 am: Shouldn't we be starting? That announcer needs to quit gabbing and let us run. Chris has finished two half marathons in the past -- both in 1:56. His goal today is loftier than that. My running pace is about the same as his, but I'll need to slow down occasionally. I've never run more than five miles without a short walk break. I should be able to keep pace with him for a few miles.

5:55 am: Here we go. Look I'm up on the big screen! Here comes the start line.

Through Mile 1: This is a lot of people running. I wish I didn't have to keep running on the grass to get around people. Hey SpeedWalker: How did you get into wave 1?

Mile 2: I'm starting to settle into my pace. Thank goodness I have Chris to run with. Time is flying by having someone to chat with.

Mile 3: We need to quit gabbing and get running. We've been over 9 minute pace the first two miles.

Mile 4: I'm feeling great today. What a day for a run. The cheering crowd is awesome. "Git 'r done!" Someone just yelled "Go Craig!" Oooh...she's cute. I think Chris is jealous.

Mile 5: I'll probably need to slow down soon. I've never tried to run farther than 5 miles without a break. Oh no...we're about to run under water. This is going to be steep...wait...that wasn't as bad as I thought. Hold on a sec...I always pictured running through the Magic Kingdom in daylight. It's still dark out. This is going to be awesome.

Mile 6: We're backstage. The best part is about to come. The lights are on down Main St. Look at all the people. The castle is lit in purple. It looks awesome. This is going to pass too quick. I think I'm running too fast. But I'm too excited to get back on pace. "Now approaching Rocket Tower Plaza." There's Alice. High-five, Piglet! Check it out, the rides are all spinning. Look at that girl running in the grass skirt ahead of me...that has to itch real bad. I hear trumpets sounding. They're up in the castle! The view back down Main St. is great. Oops...sorry Chris....didn't realize you were that close...didn't mean to cut you off in front of the cameraman. It's western Donald, Mickey, and Goofy...and there's Big Al.

Mile 7: So long Magic Kingdom, but hello Captain Jack. Awesome pirate ship. Whoa...what happened to the course? This road is much too narrow for all these people. Guess I'll run in the grass some more.

Mile 8: There's Mary Poppins and Bert. And there's still a lot more road ahead of me...I'm getting a bit tired. I've never run this far before without a break.

Mile 9: I can see the food station ahead. I better hurry up and eat these Clif Blocks so I can wash them down up there. Maybe Chris wants the second dose. What? No drinks at the food station? Maybe I shouldn't have eaten those yet.

Mile 10: Where'd Chris go? I would have taken a break miles ago if I hadn't had him to run with. What a motivator it has been to run with someone who had a faster goal time than me. I'm lucky to have started with him. Oh good...he's still really close, just 20 yards behind me. Ahh...there's my water. But, I still have four miles left to run. Maybe I should take a walk break starting at this water stop? I really am pushing my body harder than I ever have before. No...You can't stop. You've done so well. You are doing fine physically, it's just mental strain at this point. OK OK. I'll try to keep going. Now my left ankle feels a bit weird. There's nothing to look at. I've still got to run for half an hour!

Mile 11: Only.....5.....k....left.....to.....go. You can do this. Don't stop. Think of your training, three miles is a walk in the park. Just keep it up. Need to stop. Just keep running. Need to stop. Just keep running. There's been nothing cool to look at this mile or the last one -- Boring! Just keep running.

Mile 12: Two miles left. This really is a breeze from here on out. Think of it. You're about to finish. Finish strong. Confidence builds. Excitement mounts. Two miles is nothing. Hard right turn. Here comes that big ramp I've heard people complain about. This thing is sloped oddly to the side...nowhere near flat. OUCH!!! Sharp pain in my left ankle, shooting up through my calf. I've never had pain like this before while running. It must be the slope. Just slow down. Get to the outside, it looks flatter over there. I don't want to have to walk the last mile and a half. But can I still run? Not if this pain persists. Just try. OK...here goes. Very stiff, but manageable. Just try not to think about it.

Mile 13: Did my eyes deceive me? The Mile-12 marker had a time of 1:49:00 when I passed it. I'm going to finish in under two hours! I have 13 minutes to run 1.1 miles. That's plenty of time. Head high...you are crushing your goal. Into Epcot. Around the fountain, then looking over at the other path to find Chris. He had to have caught up when I slowed down back there. But I don't see him. I guess I'm going to finish alone.

The Finish: Look at all the characters and the gospel choir. I'm so close to the end. I see the clock. 1:58. What about Dave's Challenge. Think...what was the time for the under 9 minute pace? Crossing at 1:58:20. I think it was after two minutes on the clock when I crossed the start. That means I finished under 1:56! I beat my goal by 15 minutes! I snuck into the next rung on the Challenge ladder! I can't believe I ran this whole thing!

The Aftermath: Medal? Check! Picture? Check! Drink? Check! Food? Check! People to celebrate with? No check. Let's go find people. There's Mike and Chris. Mike smoked us all. Chris finished only a minute behind me. Talk about being consistent. Good ol' Mr. One-Fifty-Six. New goals: Congratulate the team, find Kristin, give her a big hug, hit the hot tub :)

4 comments:

Rae! said...

WOW!!! Great report!!!! You did great!!!!

Jeff W. said...

Exciting Report Craig. Bet you can't wait to run it again.

Basil said...

Very cool report!! Chris still thinks you cut a corner somewhere along the route :0)

Chris said...

Actually, I think he cut TWO corners! LOL! Nah, Craig, you ran an AWESOME race, it was an honor to hang with you for at least 8-9 miles.

Remember what I said to you just backstage of the Main Street Area? "This is what we're here for, right? Lets do this!" Loved your "Now entering..." as we ran into Tomorrowland as well, good times, good memories.

You're right though, next time we chat during mile 1 only and then get to it.....and you gotta let people know that I'm 6 years older than you too!!! Old is an excuse, right?