January 14, 2011

Disney World Half Marathon

So.... yeah, I'm injured and I raced. Whoops. Okay, here's the deal. My friend, Alecia (appeared in this blog a few times before) was scheduled to run her first half marathon with TNT. I have been designing training plans for her since she did her first 5K over 2 years ago. She invited me to go with her to the DWH (Disney World Half). The room was paid for by TNT and we were able to buy discount tickets to the park. When we left, I honestly didn't know if I would even run the race, even though I was already registered. I decided to wait until I ran on Friday morning. Friday morning came and it was pretty cold. I've said before that I really think cold weather is BAD on my Achilles and pretty much my ankles in general. The run felt okay, not painful, just kind of *there*. I decided that for the price of the race, I wanted to do it. Plus, when else do you get the chance to run through Disney?

We picked up our packets on Friday and low and behold, I was in the "elite" corral. Ugh. This is going to show you how twisted in the head I am, but I actually HATE the elite corral. I have never ONCE felt comfortable there. Friday night was Alecia's TNT dinner. Wow, I got to hear a very inspiring speech from a 12 year old cancer survivor. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. "The Penguin" spoke, too. I will say this b/c it's MY blog and I can talk about whatever I want, but I wasn't really a fan. He actually sort of made fun of elites and people with time goals. Funny, maybe, to make fun of people that take the sport seriously, BUT... in all my years of running, I have never been around a group of "fast or serious" runners that make fun of people without time goals. An elite runner would be burned at the stake for making fun of slower people. The sad thing was, these people cheered like HE had found the cure for cancer. I was a little insulted, especially when I have worked hard for many years to accomplish things in this sport.

So, fast forward to Ridiculous O'Clock on Saturday morning. Alecia and I go catch the bus when her TNT team and we sit by a really nice guy with a really cool story. He had a heart attack and went on to lose 80 pounds. This would be his 2nd half marathon. His best friend was recently diagnosed w/ cancer. We talked during the whole ride and in the porta line. He then started talking about how much he loved being towards the back of the pack and how NICE people were back there. He went on to say, "People up front would NEVER talk like the three of us are talking now. Too serious and snobby." Alecia nearly choked on her coffee b/c at this point I hadn't taken off my warm shirt to reveal my race bib. I started laughing, too, which he asked, "What? What?" I pulled my shirt up a bit and showed him my bid. He then went on to apologize a bazillion times. It did make me wonder, though... Is the general assumption that elites/fasties are snobs? Are people who have serious time goals and racing goals not fun? I had never really thought of that before. In my experiences, almost ALL runners are nice, slow, fast, skinny, fat. But maybe that's just me?

Hopefully this will make sense. I run ALLLLLL the way to the front corral, but on the way, I notice that Corrals G and up are completely PACKED. People are in there like sardines. I get to A and think about just slipping in there. A security guard looks at my bib and motions me on up front. It is spacious up there. There were PROs up there. Jogging, stretching, breathing deeply, plus the media things. Then there's me- just a lil' teacher gal from Nowhere Alabama who plans to run MUCH slower than those people. A few of the Brooks people wave or nod. I decide to try to squeeze back into A. Much better back there, less pressure.

The absolute best part of the race was the fireworks at the start. This was really cool, especially since it was still pitch black outside. As for the race, I had no idea what pace I was running until the last few miles. I couldn't see Garmin at all! I decided to run comfortably hard and not really "race" it. I really enjoyed going through the Magic Kingdom castle and seeing a lot of lights at Epcot. Other than that, I didn't find it to all that scenic. When they advertise this half marathon, it is a bit misleading. A lot of the running is behind the scenes, like behind buildings at Disney. It wasn't totally through the park like you would think. I did see Duffy, the newest Disney character, and Pooh along the course. Someone told me they saw Donald, but I didn't see him myself. They did have a really cool HUGE balloon shaped like the Epcot ball. During the race, I tried to talk to this man that was running near me. He had on some Vibrams. I boughts TP some for Christmas, and he has been working on breaking them in and building mileage in them. I asked the guy how he built up to running a half in them, but he didn't speak English. Hahahaha.

Final time 1:33:xx. I think that's 7:03 pace? Not totally sure. Anyway, I was in a LOT of pain afterwards w/ the ankle. I went to the dr this week and I am now off running for 3 weeks. I am limited to the bike trainer, pool running, and swimming thanks to Achilles tendinitis. After 2 weeks, I am to try elliptical. If that feels okay, I can return to running the 4th week and run every other day. So.... fingers crossed that it will be better after 3 and not longer. More on the stupid injury later.

That's me w/ Grete Waitz! They had a statue of her in Norway of Epcot.


  1. Sorry to hear about your injury. I had the same issue almost exactly a year ago. I'm here for you if you ever want to talk about it. I thought you might want to check out my archive about my recovery:
    P.S. I find that many elite runners in HS and college are snobs but elite adults are not.

  2. It really is funny how running is a very inclusive sport, but its not at the same time. Way to set an example for the speedy chicks (injured or not!:))!

    If you see my post I've got another minor issue to sort out...heal fast girl, I know you will!

  3. Elite or not elite we're serious in our own way and there is nothing wrong with it. As for "The Penguin" and his comments well that is just his opinion but you know just to ignore him. I know you work hard to get to where you are today and that is ALL that matters. Keep up the great work. No matter what you are still inspiring.

    Sorry to hear about the injury. I know it sucks but you will get better.

  4. Funny about the Penguin and the guy on the bus. Really is a lot of silly prejudice against fasties. That's stupid but I'm glad you were able to do the fun "reveal" for the bus guy. Sorry you're off for the next few weeks but like I said on FB, it'll have a great side effect of making you uber-healthy for the next long push.

  5. Anonymous1/15/2011

    Major bummer about the Achilles. :(

    re: the assumed snobbiness of elites and the Penguin's digs at serious runners -- sheesh! Running culture is funny. Wish we could all cut each other a break. Run and let run!

  6. Anonymous1/15/2011

    you are so humble and seem pretty fun! hope the achilles heals up quickly.

  7. That seems so wierd.. I don't know why there would need to be animosity in something where really everyone has a similar goal of running and doing their best... I would have been really annoyed too and I'm not even speedy but I do have time goals and like to challenge myself against myself!

    I hope your ankle heals up quickly!

  8. I've never felt like fast people looked down on slower ones (like me). I always felt like faster people were very encouraging of slower people who were trying to improve. However, I do think there's some disrespect (some of it completely unintentional) for others that goes on from the slower crowd. I think it's great for people to get out and do races just for the experience, but it really ticks me off when those people line up at the front, walk 5 abreast so no one can get by them, and otherwise assume that just because *they* don't have time goals, everyone else's are silly. So there's my rant for the day. I hope your achilles gets better soon.

  9. Anonymous1/17/2011

    Wow, I cant beleive they made such a huge deal out of "serious runners with time goals"... I am the LEAST serious of all runners, do not look like a runner, act like a runner or think I"m a runner but I ALWAYS go into a race or even a training run with a time/distance goal and bust my butt to achieve it or better yet beat it. That's the only way to improve!

  10. Anonymous1/17/2011

    ugh, sorry to hear about your Achilles problems! congrats to Alecia on her first half... so exciting that to have someone you helped get into the sport race yeah?

  11. Anonymous1/17/2011

    i saw on fb that you're injured. :( great time but ouch for your achilles! rest up lady! congrats to alecia too :)

  12. Sorry to hear that you are off of running for such a long time. I hope you can aqua jog somewhere (it is boring as all get out but has helped me recover from injury very well so I always suggest it.)
    As for the animosity towards "fast" runners, I completely relate to your surprise and frustration. I run in the Bay Area of San Francisco, where my 1:25 half marathon time does NOT make me particularly fast, and yet I have experienced this whole prejudice a number of times. I was rejected from the Luna Team because I was told that they wanted "real" women who other running women could relate too...women who had to work hard to fit running in around their family/work schedules. Um, yeah, I am a mother and a wife and I work just as hard as the next person to fit it in. Some people just happen to have a different genetic predisposition than others. I could go on and on, but it just gets me all riled up so I won't bore you. Sorry that you had to experience it though! And really, good luck with the recovery. It is a great time to work on your general aerobic strength and core strength. (Shalene Flanagan was injured for over a year and took it as a time to work on core strength...when she came back she immediately set all kinds of national records right away. Just saying...)