Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Goofy's Challenge 2009

The morning of the half, we took a fleece blanket from the hotel room and parked ourselves on the ground. We dozed and made fleeting comments at how cold it was, and we were surprised that our breath created big, misty clouds in the darkness. Disney has this requirement that you be in the holding area TWO HOURS before the marathon (the last transport busses leave the hotels at 4:15ish). We munched on a banana, went to the porta-potty, and made our way to the WORST CORRAL CHOICE EVER. How the hell did Bob and I end up in the back with the walkers? I remembered I put a 4:40 marathon guestimation when I initially signed up for the challenge in January of 2008. I would think they wouldn't put us in the last corral for the half, let alone the full. Regardless of what I thought, here we were in a sea of purple "Team In Training" hell. We knew we were in trouble. We were thinking a 2:15 half would be just the ticket--we quickly accepted that wouldn't be the case. The roadway at the start is bursting with joggers and walkers meandering abreast. It is very difficult and unwise to run around the walkers, stop and go, end up on the grass, only to make your way back into a dreaded "walker cell". Bob is a lot more assertive than I in that situation, and perhaps due to his size, he is able to part the slower joggers and waters like Moses dissected the Red Sea!

I stuck with Bob best I could, using him like a guide dog. Then, as if I wasn't already frustrated with the status of my race, my iPod locks up on me. My brand new iPod, bursting with a fresh infusion of iTunes. Where is my Pearl Jam? Where is my Siousie and the Banshees? Will Pink Floyd leave me in the dark? I am deflated. I excavate myself from the layers of wicking shirts to get to the crux of my iPod issue, buried underneath all the clothing. I punch it, switch the lock over and over, and FINALLY...Bono makes a weak appearance, and I realize I am saved. At this point I realize a large figure lumbering next to me. It's Bob! I pick out my ear bud and hear, "We may as well just run this together, it's insane to think we are going to get out of this crowd". I was ecstatic! Bob NEVER races with me. We tried once, a couple of years ago. I ended up with major guilt, and he had a terrible race.

We continued together, at a pedestrian 11:00 pace. It was comfortable, we enjoyed the sites and the parks. We were able to have a conversation (who needed that silly iPod, anyway?). We held hands for photo ops (cheesy, I know). I have never had a race go by so quickly and so slowly at the same time. We finished in 2:30. We went back to the hotel, showered, and went to Animal Kingdom to ride Expedition Everest. A nice dinner at the Portobello restaraunt in downtown Disney completed the day. I was dreading Sunday. Again, we would be waking up at 3:00 AM.

The next morning wasn't so cold. Bob proposed we run the full marathon together--as long as I didn't mind his run/walk, Galloway approach. Are you kidding? I giggled like a schoolgirl. Any free pass to walk...I will take it! Again, we took our place in the holding area...slightly upbeat after having learned we weren't in the back corral this time. We chatted and took pictures. The first mile or two I struggled to keep up with Bob's "walk". His walking is equivalent to a 12:45 mile for me, lol. I stayed behind him and giggled that for every step he took, I took two! He was running five minutes and walking one minute. I was running five minutes and skip, jog and galloping one minute. The roadways around the parks--for lack of a better word--SUCK when it comes to foot stability. All of the off ramps and on ramps are slanted, so one foot is always higher than the other. My feet shift painfully by mile 10.

I felt sluggish until the half-marathon mark, and then I felt revived. I also felt as if I wanted this race to be over. By mile 18, however, Bob wasn't looking very good. We had spoken very little up until this point, and I was mildly surprised that he wanted to stop for awhile. He grabbed a second banana at a water station, and I was concerned that wasn't going to be a good choice for later in the race. He complained of headache and nausea, and I became concerned because the longer we were out there, the hotter the temperatures were becoming. He insisted that I go on without him. I didn't want to leave. He said before the race that if one of us lagged, the other must go. I thought I would be the lagger. I struggled as we shuffled along, and finally Bob said, "Lee Ann, just go please". I took off. I came up to a couple wearing matching tee-shirts. The woman's shirt read, "Never leave a good man behind." Her husband's read, "A good man". I deflated.

I attacked the last seven miles, accidentally having the first negative split race EVER (for what that's worth, lol). I passed stations of chocolate, stations of pretzels and oranges, stations of any flavor Gu you could possibly want...I just want to be at the finish. I wanted to see Bob. Thanks to Jen for talking with me at the finish, and intermittently during the race. I may have sounded fine, but I was worried for Bob. He finished a good 20-25 minutes after I did. He promptly threw up at the finish. We gathered our Mickey and Goofy medals, and had a photo taken. I am sure we will appreciate Bob's ashen complexion when we view the proofs. I was able to obtain a couple of Cokes, and we made our way to the bus. Bob was very ill and softspoken. When the bus pulled up to the hotel, he proceeded to vomit in my lap. A man looked very concerned and asked, "Is he going to be ok?". I calmly replied, "Hell yes, you should see what he does after a triathlon!". That is our magical journey in a nutshell. We have three bitchin' medals. Several hours, napping, some more vomiting, appetizers at the "Brown Derby" at Hollywood Studios, we were good to go. Rock and Rollercoaster, World of Nations and a couple of beers--done:).