Yes, I know I'm late in this posting, but here it is.
For the 10k race, we had to be at the starting corral for 5.30, which meant we were in bed by around 10 pm on Thursday night. This wasn't so bad, on account of the early start that day, and we were determined to rest up before our race on Friday. We set up the wake up call again, as well as the alarms on our phones.
Unfortunately, we didn't sleep well - the bed was lumpy and I was so paranoid about I'd sleeping in that I awoke several times to check the time!
It wasn't as cold as the Thursday, so I only wore two layers this time. We hastily ate breakfast, which was a small bowl of cereal, and headed to the monorail. Luckily for us, the Epcot monorail was running, so we changed trains at the Transportation and Ticket Center and off we went.
It's quite surreal sitting in the darkened monorail traveling to Epcot. Your eyes think it's the evening, but your brain knows its early in the morning and both seem to fight over which one is correct.
We headed past the bag check and towards the wheelchair tent. Compared to the previous day, there seemed to be a few more wheelchair racers. I hung out with Mike for a few minutes before I left to find my corral.
I was a bit sore that morning. I hadn't planned on running as much as I did and I was ill prepared to run two races back to back. When we were training, we only had one bit of practice of back to back, so I definitely felt it that morning. Even though I was one of the early ones into the corral, I decided to stay in the middle of the pack. I didn't want to over do it and then have to hobble around for the rest of the day. I was about 20 minutes early into the corral and the wait until the official starting time seemed to take forever. We had to wait for the wheelchair athletes and then corrals A and B to get going. This took about 20 more minutes and I felt like I was going out of my mind.I don't know why, I think I just wanted to get going. I remember getting this way at home during training and I chalked it up to excitement and my burgeoning running addiction.
I finally crossed the starting line and we were off. I had a bit of a choppy start because of the amount of runners around me. I had to walk for a bit to allow the herd to thin out a bit. This was good and bad - good because my body could take it easy, bad because my antsy brain was fired up and itching to start to run. This time, instead of turning right and around the parking lot, we turned left and headed onto the road.
The first mile marker was close to the turn around point. As I approached, I saw the throng of runners ahead of me and the shadowy runners heading up the incline. I looked around to see runners passing me and I felt a bit of dread and doubt. All of a sudden, I felt like this wasn't a good idea anymore and I wanted to stop. My legs were moving by themselves, it seemed and I kept going. I turned my focus elsewhere - I thought about how amazing it was that I was here on the road, on which I had only driven before. My thoughts even turned to a dark place and I thought about The Walking Dead and the zombie horde, while all round me I heard feet and heard breaths, but I kept going.
I believe this part was the hardest, I really do. There was nothing to see, just road and trees and darkness stretching before you. It wasn't a physical wall, it was a mental one. This is the essence of running. Not your feet or your calves or your lungs, it's the head games. Finally, we reached mile marker 3 and I realized I was close to half way and we started to head into the back way of the Epcot compound.
I was starting to get hungry and when we turned into the compound, we passed by the wondrous smell of bacon and eggs cooking. I half wanted to depart the race and go grab some breakfast!
I continued on towards the World Showcase, running and walking as I could. As I passed the American pavilion, I ducked into the washroom and then ran out again. I walked up the hill past the French pavilion and then ran down the decline as we headed towards the Boardwalk resort. As we entered that section, I looked across the water to the Yacht Club resort and I could see a large mass moving. I knew I'd be there soon enough.
By this time, we started to see and hear guests cheering us on. Before on the road, there was no one and it was silent. Within Epcot, there were some cast members and behind the scenes employees. But, my favorite time was through Boardwalk and Yacht Club resorts. I'd started to waver again on account of hunger and fatigue and seeing those people in their pajamas and bundled up against the cold, it gave me the will to go on. I made it through the resort section and started passing those runners who were just now entering the resort.
Now, we headed back into Epcot and toward mile marker 6. At this point, I really had no strength left. I went to draw some energy and there was none. I kept walking because I knew I wanted to run across the finish line and I had to conserve the little "fumes" I had left. By the time I turned the corner to leave The Living Seas and head towards Spaceship Earth, I could hear the DJ and I knew I was heading to the home stretch.
This race was tough. I wasn't as ready as I wanted to be and it showed. It took me an hour and 32 minutes to complete, which is 3 minutes faster than my time at home. I wasn't going to break a personal record or anything, but just to give a comparison.
I will stick with running. I've already set goals for myself this year and for next year. Mike wants to do some of the other RunDisney races in California and Orlando, but we'll see how things go. Over the past 6 months, I made plenty of rookie mistakes, which hampered my progress. Now, I know better, so I will do better.