2012 Walt Disney World Half-Marathon
|January 8, 2012||Posted by Katy under 2012 WDW Half-Marathon Training, Race recap|
How do you begin to write about a race that went so wrong so quickly?
The race that you claimed would be your “comeback race” after an injury. The race where you trained smart but hard for over two months.
A half-marathon that was your worst time yet, even worse than a race you ran a month after coming back from an injury and your longest run was 6 miles.
A half-marathon where you came in 12 minutes slower than you did the previous year.
I suppose you begin at the beginning, but let me warn you- this is not the post positive recap (although at the end, I’m not as woe is me…blah, blah, blah, so if you want to just skip to that, I understand.)
So here we go…
Race morning started as they all do: with an easy wakeup (2:30), forcing myself to eat rice cakes with peanut butter, and making sure I had everything I needed.
As I slipped on my new bright pink arm warmers, I started to feel excited, but not overly excited like I normally am. I was pretty exhausted, as I had been tossing and turning all night. I figure I only got about 30 minutes of sleep.
With a few pre-race pictures, my mom and I were off to the buses to go Epcot.
The bus ride was uneventful, other than a group of girls behind me talking (in vivid detail) about their bathroom habits. I’m pretty sure everyone on the bus was glad when we got to the holding area.
Since Chelsey and I were both in the first corral, we decided to meet-up and wait together. After a few text messages, we finally found each other in the mass of people.
After a quick trip to the porta-potties, we started walking to the start corrals. The entire morning seemed to be going by so quickly!
Once we got to the corral, we found the 1:50 pacer and sat on the ground to stretch a little.
We also scoped out all the other runners…
For whatever reason, I was extremely indifferent about the race at this point. I was excited in the days prior but come race morning, I couldn’t get very excited. Maybe it was because I did the race last year and the novelty had worn off?
Unlike last year, we didn’t wait too long before the National Anthem was sung and we were off! Let my fourth half-marathon begin!
My original goal was to stick with the 1:50 pacer for as long as I could and was happy when Chelsey said she would do the same. However, the 1:50 pacer quickly pulled ahead of us and due to the crowding, we couldn’t quite catch up with him.
Regardless, Chelsey and I stuck together at a good pace for the first few miles. My legs felt great and ready to run fast. I started to smile a little and thought about the race from last year.
Chelsey and I hit the 5K mat together, and I was feeling good. However, not even a half mile later, I was hit in the chest with a sharp pain and I was gasping for breath. I knew something was not right and it scared me.
Since Chelsey was looking strong, I tapped her on the shoulder and told her that it was not my day and for her to go on. I pulled back on my pace and let her go, with the intention to try to catch up with her later.
Slowing my pace a little seemed to help the chest pain, but I was still having some difficulties catching my breath. I know that I was running, but my difficulties were more than “I can’t catch my breath because I’m running.”
I saw my mom at a little past the mile 4 marker and handed her off my fuel belt and camera. I knew that if I wanted to do well, I needed to focus on running verses taking pictures.
Running the next mile before Magic Kingdom was a blur. I remember taking one of my gummies, a lot of darkness, and more breathing problems. As we approached Main Street in Magic Kingdom, instead of feeling excited, I felt sad. I knew that my race was going downhill quickly and there wasn’t much I could do to control it. The crowd was loud, supportive, and energetic, but I didn’t feel hyped up. Instead, I felt dejected and disappointed.
As we entered Tomorrowland, I took a walking break (which I didn’t train to do) to see if I could get a full breath in. After about a minute, I resumed running, going through Cinderella’s Castle and almost running straight into a Brightroom photographer (oops! ), and through the remainder of the park.
From last year, I knew that the miles in between Magic Kingdom and the return to Epcot were boring and mentally tiring. I had assembled my playlist to have my “power songs” during specific points during the race, but since I was going much slower than I intended, my “power songs” came on sooner.
I knew that my mom would be at around the mile 8 marker and that powered me through the next couple of miles. I was taking more and more walking breaks, my pace had dipped into the mid 9:00 range and my breathing was completely labored. Yet, despite all of my breathing difficulties, I kept trudging along, knowing that I was not going to PR.
When I approached the mile 8 marker, I scanned the crowd for my mom and couldn’t find her. I started to panic and in a moment of desperation, started to cry. I know now that it would not have been a big deal if she wasn’t there, but at that point, I needed to see her.
Finally a little down the way, I spotted her and immediately ran into her arms and sobbed. I told her between sobs that I had been unable to breath since mile 3 and that I was miserable. She did what mothers do best, comforted me, but encouraged me to go on.
As I continued on, some spectators who had seen the scene unfold, yelled my name and told me that I could do it, which just made me cry more.
I don’t remember much of miles 8-12. I took walk breaks, took my GU, teared up a few times, and thought about every inspirational quote I knew. I cursed myself for not bringing my inhaler with me and had some choice words for the “hills” aka overpass ramps.
When the 2:00 pacer (who was in corral B and at least 5 minutes slower than me clockwise) passed me, I knew that this race was over. I’m not proud to say this, but it was at that point where I mentally gave up. I checked out and didn’t care anymore. I walked when I didn’t need to and made no effort to try.
I was spent. Exhausted. Done.
When I finally saw mile 12, I told myself that I couldn’t walk anymore. It didn’t matter how slow I went- I just couldn’t walk. As I slowly made my way into Epcot and around the Christmas tree, my playlist was done. So, I dug deep and just gunned it and picked off people left and right.
As I approached the finish line, I gave Donald and Goofy a high five and crossed the line. I didn’t bother to raise my arms to celebrate or look at my Garmin to see my time (official time: 2:08:05)
I just didn’t care. I was done but not proud.
I made my way to get my medal and as I lowered my head for the volunteer to put it around my neck, I immediately got dizzy, my heart rate increased, and said that I needed a medic.
To make a long story short, I was wheeled into the medical tent and surrounded by no less than 7 medic workers taking my vitals. The situation was a lot more dramatic than it really was, but apparently I was one of their only patients up to that point and they “needed something to do.”
I ended up checking out fine and after drinking some water and a few funny stories, I was allowed to leave after 10 or so minutes.
I made my way to the family reunion area, saw Chelsey (who did awesome!), and headed back to the resort.
Overall, this race was crappy- there is no denying it. In fact, have not had a good race in a year and that is extremely frustrating.
I came in 12 minutes slower than last year and over 25 minutes slower than I intended. I feel like I wasted nine weeks of my life training for a race that I could have done much better in. I wish I had not given up and I wish that I had more fun.
I went all day yesterday saying that I don’t feel like I deserved to wear the medal, but today I don’t feel that way. I deserve the medal- I just don’t like what it took to earn it.
I know that I have a lot more in me and this race was hopefully just a fluke. There was no way of predicting that I would have asthma/ breathing issues, but it happens.
It is not the end of the world. It was “just” a race and there are more out there. One day I will get my PR and have a perfect race. Yesterday was not my day.
Bad races happen, it is what we do to overcome our failures that make us better athletes…or something like that.
And that is how I survived my fourth half-marathon, complete with medical drama.
Oh, and how I beat a Survivor star and millionaire… by 2 minutes and 36 seconds. See? There is always a positive in a disappointment.