Friday, October 12, 2012

Guest Post - Tower of Terror 10 Miler Part 2 - Race

*CAUTION RUNNERS Extremely long post ahead*CAUTION RUNNERS extremely long post ahead*

After lunch our little family decided to just hang out in the hotel room and try to nap.  There was some quiet time, TV, giggles, stretching, water drinking, and lots of "Austyn, time to dodo", but no real nap.  At around 5, Austyn finally decided that it was a good time to nap.  I knew we had plans to meet up around 7ish so I decided it was much easier to get ready with a sleeping 16 month old than a not used to having such a late nap grouchy girl (I can call her grouchy because she gets her late nap grouchiness from me...I confess).

So I showered up (because you always need to smell good for a race) then started getting dressed.  The girls I was starting with are known for their fun costumes.  Since this was my first race I was a little nervous to overdo it.  I had ideas for a few different characters.  While I kept going back to my all-time favorite villain, Captain Hook, I ended up as Mr. Smee!

I wanted something comfortable, not too hot, and fairly easy to make.  I found the shirt at Target, the shorts at Sports Authority, the glasses...look familiar?  They're Harry Potter glasses - the only thing I could find that kinda "fit" Mr. Smee.  As for the hat...oh the hat.  Living in south Florida I wasn't lucky to find a regular beanie.  I attempted to make one of those ever so popular mini hats on a clip, but I looked like a clown.  So as I was looking for scrap material I thought, "Maybe I can just cut up a shirt".  It just so happened that my husband had an old red shirt that's moisture wicking AND the sleeve fit my head perfectly!  I cut the sleeve off, sewed it shut, and sewed a tulle pompom on my head.  Seriously, it was that easy and ended up being how I could spot myself in the Brightroom pictures.

While I kept thinking "My costume is a little lame", you wouldn't believe the compliments I got from other runners and even some spectators along the way.  I even appreciated my friend Becca's comment "I have no idea who Mr. Smee is, but you're pretty cute!"  If you can't nail your character, just nail being a cute version of your character.  This is where I give pregnant Mr. Smee the number one Mr. Smee award.  It was a perfect choice for her and she looked great!

Before I completely geared up, my daughter woke up and let us take a few unhappy shots, but I got a high five and that's all that matters.

I then met up with the rest of the group.

 We snapped a few shots and headed to the buses.

 While we were getting on the bus, a girl made a remark about how her costume was better than one of the girls in my group.  This really disappointed me.  Let's face it girls...there is no costume contest.  We all have our own unique way of doing our costumes.  Let's have fun and save the judging.  It's Disney World - The Happiest Place on Earth!  Keep the sass to yourself.

When we got off the buses, I called Jen.  I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing.  The atmosphere was amazing.  My butterflies turned into pure excitement.  If they would have let me, I think I could have taken off on my own, run the whole 10 miles nonstop without looking back on the adrenaline alone.

We picked the photo op line with the shortest wait and had the people behind us snap a few pictures.

 We hung out, stressed, and headed to our corrals.  All of the girls were put in Corral B, and Alexwas in Corral C, so we parted ways with plans of catching up with him early on.

The newbies, the Dalmatian and myself, decided to head to the porta-potty while we waited to line up.  The wait was not terribly wrong, but we picked the non moving line.  After our potty break, we met up with the Queen Lynn and Evil Sea Witch Juliette and did some more stretching.  We joked about our running injuries (feet, knees, and hips) and had a good time hanging out.

Then it was time to head to the starting line.  I will be honest - from things I've read, I was expecting there to be these long draining walks everywhere.  While there is a lot of walking before you start, I felt like the excitement of the race masked the distance and found nothing to complain about.

While waiting for the race to start, some cool things went on.  We got to be in the background of the race recap video!  I even ended up standing next to the one and only Captain Hook.  She was really nice, and didn't make me feel like a total loser when I asked her to pose for a picture with me.

There were not a ton of Mr. Smee's or Captain Hook's, so it was fun that we were waiting to start next to each other.  We even met again during the race.  I heard "Mr. Smee!" and there was Captain Hook.  You hear a lot about how friendly people are at the races, but at that moment I personally experienced and realized that.  Yes indeed - Disney races are the best and most friendly!

We both ended up making the race recap video.  40 seconds in behind Snow White you will see me and the Dalmatian (sorry...I have no idea what her name was...oops!).  At 1:15 you will find the Captain Hook, and spot me not far behind her. 

Now...where was I before I so rudely interrupted myself?  Ah...the start of the race.

Of course right before the start I got the sweetest text from my biggest cheerleader, Jen!

Who had a fan a state away with a sign?  THIS GIRL!  Be jealous.

National Anthem, fireworks, wheelchair group 1 GO, fireworks, wheelchair group 2 GO!  (Seriously, we saw these people going when we took off.  Talk about awesome!)  Corral A, fireworks, GO!

Here we are.  It's finally our turn.  I've got chills...they're multiplying.  There is about a 3 minute wait that feels like eternity between corrals.  Then you hear "Corral B is for Brave...or Better than A, *twilight zone music*, some more stuff about the Twilight Zone and the Tower of Terror and THEN the fireworks.  We were off!

Lynn and I linked arms as it gets a little pushy and tight at the beginning.  Our plan was to walk to the right while non-costume Alex ran to catch up with us from the beginning of Corral C.

Of course, we get caught on video while we are walking, and Lynn is messing with her phone (about 20 seconds in).  For the first five miles I ran with Lynn.  Her running partner, Juliette, ran ahead with her friend (the Dalmatian) and was to meet us at mile 5.  Lynn and I had a great time running, and speed walking, all while trying to wait for Alex.

For me, the first mile is usually the longest mile of the run, but this time it seemed to fly by, even with us stopping to pose with the alligator.

Next up, I got to experience my first race announcement - "CAUTION RUNNERS - SPEED BUMPS AHEAD", as we entered Animal Kingdom.  Funny how you read up on these races and when you do your first race you think "Ah, that's what they were talking about".

I'm not a fan of long lines so I slowed down just enough to snap a picture of the hyenas.

"Mufasa" "Ohh! Do it again!" "Mufasa" "Ohhh!" Mufasa Mufasa Mufasa!""Hee hee hee"

We hit mile 3!..HAKUNA MATATA! We have done a 5k and I felt great.  I still had so much energy balled up in me!  I got this.  I don't care what time of night it is.  We got this.  But crap.  Where is Alex?  There was a guy wearing the same type of non-costume as Alex, same build and each time he would pass us we would get excited thinking we had found him, but it was never him.

Mile 4 came.  About this time is where I started seeing people on the side of the road stretching.  We soon passed the medic station.  I was so happy at this time that my hip was hanging in there, and Lynn was hanging tough with her throbbing foot.  We didn't need to stop - a small triumph!  We haven't fallen apart yet.  We are still alive.  Things are looking possible.

About this time is when we turned onto the dirt road.  It was very close quarters and we all smelled delightful.  THIS, my friends, is what 5 a,m. boot camp prepared me for!  Hot, stinky, off road, don't give up, keep on going, you got this, sweaty, dark, interesting, full of surprises, FUN!  Lynn and I got the giggles at one of the teams.  One person was screaming at how she didn't sign up for this and that it was the "worse course ever".  The other followed closely behind pushing her along.  While we couldn't see much, there was a pirate ship that I couldn't resist.

Here we go!  Mile 5!

While I loved the dirt road, I was more than happy to see a little more light and the field at Wide World of Sports.

I thought it looked peaceful

Up until this point Lynn had been urging me to go ahead because she didn't want to hold me back with her injured foot.  I, on the other hand, didn't want to leave her to run alone.  Lynn runs the races with Juliette and I knew she would meet us at some point and I wasn't going to leave her until she had someone to run with.  After the dirt road, Lynn found out that Juliette was at the water station at mile 5 waiting for us.  Lynn decided to use the "real bathrooms" that were open at Wide World of Sports, and I made the decision to finish the race alone, knowing that Juliette would be just a few steps away.

Once I passed Juliette and knew Lynn was in good hands, I texted my husband one simple word - "Alone".  Since he was waiting with our entire group's family and friends, he would now know that my race would be different and he could no longer go off anyone's texts but mine.  So what does he do?  He sends me back a picture of my daughter - wide awake.  I could not read the text, and I didn't need to.  As my one word explained enough to him, that picture told me what the next text was saying - "You are not alone".

This is why we allowed the afternoon nap.  And just in case you were wondering, the text said, "We're so proud of you.  She's waiting up to see you.  Can't wait.  Not getting any of the auto texts.  Love you.  Try to let me know when you're close"  No worries...I completely forgave him for the water incident.  He's worth keeping around for year 11.

The picture completely made me choke up.  At mile 7 I was getting myself back together when the next text came through - "YOU GOT THIS" - my sister.  I thought for sure I was going to be a babbling buffoon, but I kept it together and pushed on!

Mile 8 is a blur.  I just remember thinking "Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog, I'm going to finish this race!".  It became real to me.  I was getting tired and I tried to keep my pace at around 11 minutes knowing I wanted to finish with a decent average pace, but also knowing I wanted to finish standing.  This is fun!  There is no need to push myself and aggravate my hip flexor.

Then the emotional roller coaster hit me again.  We are here...Almost done!

Running and running I was so excited to run through Lights, Motor, Action!  My husband and I always attend both showings when we come, so my heart pounded and I knew he was somewhere nearby waiting for me to finish.  Then I realized I was on the big screen and knew he would think that was super cool so I ran back and took a picture.  LOL

Thankfully I wasn't the only dork that felt the need to take a picture!
Not far after LMA, there was a guy cheering everyone on.  We had about 1/2 mile left and as we passed he said, "I don't know how much longer you have but it's not far".  I think myself, along with every other runner passing him at that time screamed "A HALF MILE!!".  I picked up the pace and kept thinking about my family waiting for me on the other side.  I tried to text my husband to tell him I was getting close but I didn't want to stop running, so this is what he got -

After 9, that was supposed to be "!!!!!!!!!!!!!" so he knew I was getting close.  Then I tried typing "1/2" and I just typed some letters.  His "Yaaaa" came in after he snapped the picture of me crossing the finish line.

Can you see me?  I did it!  Hearing my name being called over the loud speaker was worth every drop of sweat, lost hour of sleep, and mile I ran to get there.  I did it - 10 miles!  Well...a little more than 10 miles because I kept running until I got to where they were handing out medals for two reasons: 1) I had no idea where my husband was and knew he was taking pictures, and 2) I was afraid if I stopped running I wouldn't make it to the medals.

I got my medal, Powerade, water, banana, race box, and headed over to the medic station.  There were some runners that looked pretty bad, but I felt good.  I realized I completed a goal I didn't even know I had.  I completely a 10 miler without a problem with my hip, and was still able to walk around and not feel bad.  So THAT is my goal for the Princess.  Finish standing up, and feeling good.  I grabbed some ice for my hip just in case, put some Biofreeze on my knees and ankles, and took the Tylenol they were handing out.  I figured better to be safe than sorry.

I think carrying everything to my husband was as hard as running the 10 miles!  I made it to the line to take pictures, and the line moved fairly quickly, took my picture and I was off to find my husband and daughter.  After 10 miles in the dark I was a bit turned around in the park.  I had no clue where I was or where I was going.  We have probably visited Hollywood Studios more than any other park but I still could not find my way around.  At last, I was able to find the finish line and my family.

Seeing his smile and hearing him say "I knew you could do it" made my night.  My daughter crashed about 30 minutes before I crossed.  He said she fought hard to stay awake but couldn't.  At this point I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins.  I probably could have run another 3 miles on that alone.  However, I was very thankful I was able to take a few more pictures and put on my flip flops.

I have to give a hand to my girls Lynn and Juliette.  Those girls are tough.  Hurt or healthy they run and don't give up.  They have goals that most think are crazy that they will accomplish and make it look easy.  Thanks for letting me tag along ladies.  You rock!

Quick review : The weather was hot and humid.  It is also south Florida so I figured it would be but hoped for better.  All my training was outside and I felt that was one of my major advantages.  I loved the course.  I welcomed the dirt road and the track.  I thought it changed it up and kept it interesting.  It was possibly one of my favorite parts of the race.  As far as entertainment, while more is always better, I was okay with what we were given.  I know you are giving me the side eye, but this was my first runDisney race.  I run alone on city streets where the most interesting thing I see are curly tailed lizards scurrying across the pavement.  Running and looking at costumes and hearing other runners push each other along was more than enough for me.  I do have to say that I found the last mile to be rather disappointing.  I guess I pictured more people along the streets cheering us on.  I saw a lot of people stop and walk with less than half a mile left.  I think if there were more spectators, there would be a bigger push to keep everyone going.

Overall, I really enjoyed the race.  All the complaints have me very excited for the Princess half.  I can see why runDisney is addicting.  I'm already planning and saving for what's to come after the Princess because I know I want more!  No worries...I'll continue to drag Jen along!

Thanks for letting me relive the Tower of Terror run.  See you again after Jen and I complete our first half marathon together!  135 days! *squee!!!*

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