January
29
Posted on 29-01-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Last night I revamped my mp3 player play list since I was feeling uninspired on the treadmill.   I’ll reveal it here if you all promise not to laugh.  A lot of thought went into this…

1)  Flogging Molly – Float

2)  Coldplay – Viva la Vida

3)  Evanescence – Bring Me to Life

4)  Disturbed – Inside the Fire

5)  Hoobastank – Crawling in the Dark

6)  The New Radicals – You Get What You Give

7)  Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get it Started

8)  Mama Mia Cast – Gimme! Gimme !Gimme !(A man after midnight) – told you not to laugh.  It’s got a very runable beat to it.

9)  Flogging Molly – Man with no Country

10)  Green Day – Holiday – this one always picks me up

11)  You’re Gonna Go Far Kid – Offspring

12)  Flogging Molly – (Nore More) Paddy’s Lament

13)  Aly & A.J. – Rush – Just remember I have 2 tween daughters

14)  The Click Five – Pop Princess – Okay, I like this song more than they do.

15)  Bonnie Tyler – Holding out for a Hero – works as well for running as it does for tractor fighting.

16)  REO Seedwagon – Keep Pushin’

That usually gets me through 6 miles +.  I’m not sure how Flogging Molly would feel about being followed up by Aly & A.J., but that’s the beauty of the mp3 player.

After 5 easy miles on the treadmill, I headed downstairs for some weight training.  Since the legs have been getting hammered this week, I skipped the single leg squats and went with a somewhat easier leg workout today:

Single Leg Extensions – 2 sets with 70 lbs

Leg Adduction : 2 sets with 100 lbs

Leg Abduction: 1 set with 140 lbs

Seated Calf Raise: 2 sets with 115 lbs

Decline Press: 2 sets with 230 lbs

Wide chest press: 2 sets with 160 lbs

High Row: 2 sets with 140 lbs

Shoulder shrigs: 2 sets with 55 lb dumbells in each hand

Bicep curls: 2 sets with 40 lbs in each hand

Of course I stretched thoroughly afterward.  Although I will admit that it’s been hard to find a spot on the stretching mat at the gym lately.  I suppose the crowds will die down once we hit February and people fall off the New Years resolution bandwagon.

(2) Comments    Read More   
January
28
Posted on 28-01-2009
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Brian

After Monday’s speed intervals and 5 easy miles coupled with full body strength training yesterday, the legs were a little sore this morning.  The weather was beautiful, though and I headed out for some threshold training.

Today’s plan was for three 1.5 mile intervals at threshold pace (7:10 min/mile) with 2 minute rests in between.  I ran a one mile warmup at my easy pace, then hit the first interval.  The first mile wasn’t bad, but the final half mile was pretty tough.  I finished the interval in 10:16 (6:52 min/mile).  I walked for 2:11 then started into the second interval.  The second one was tougher and I ran into a few traffic stops.  I finished it in 10:57 (7:17 min/mile).  I walked for 2:23, then hit the final interval.  With one short stop for traffic, I finished this one in 10:51 (7:13 min/mile).  I walked for 2:22 then ran a cool down mile at my easy pace for a total of 7 miles.

For the most part, I ran faster than my prescribed threshold pace.  I did fall off the pace a little in the second interval, but most of the blame for missing my time in the second two intervals goes to the traffic stops.  I guess I need to find a better route for these types of intervals.  Although, the stops were welcome I will admit.

(2) Comments    Read More   
January
26
Posted on 26-01-2009
Filed Under (Food, Training) by Brian

Despite the fact that my lungs greatly protested last week’s speedwork, I was actually looking forward to today’s workout.  That may have something to do with a day off yesterday…Or maybe I’m just crazy.

Today’s plan was one of those that takes a little bit of effort just to remember:  4 x 200 m with 200 m jogging recoveries, 2 x 400m with 400 m jogging recoveries, 1 x 800 m with 800 m jogging recovery, 2 x 400m with 400 m jogging recoveries, and 4 x 200m with 200 m jogging recoveries.  So, here’s how it went:

1.16 miles warmup in 10:16

200 m intervals: 0:43,0:41,0:44,0:45

400 m intervals: 1:28,1:31

800 m interval: 3:05

400 m intervals: 1:30, 1:29

200 m intervals: 0:43,0:44,0:43,0:44

1.12 miles cool down in 9:18.

Plan: 200’s at 46 s, 400’s at 92 s, 800 at 3:04, 400’s at 92 s, 200’s at 46 s.

So, I was just below my plan for each set of intervals except the 800 in which I was off by 1 second.  I will admit that I felt like puking during the 800, so I let up a little bit.  Still, only a second off isn’t too shabby.  I’m quite happy with today’s workout.  To be honest, the book has a little dash next to my pace for the 800 m, so I’m not really sure I’m even supposed to be doing that.  I figured one wouldn’t hurt too badly.  In any case, I had scheduled the total workout for 7 miles and I ran 7.5 miles, so that’s a bonus.  My total average pace was 7:47 and I did most of the intervals at sub 6:00 pace.

The lakeside park I run at has a well marked path that is 1.1 miles around with the start, finish and each quarter mile marked with a sign.  Since each set of intervals was 1 mile in total, I took the extra 0.1 miles jogging at the end of each set so that I could use the quarter mile markers as a visual signal during my intervals.  Thus, I didn’t need to constantly glance at my Garmin (except during the 200 m intervals).

(3) Comments    Read More   
January
25
Posted on 25-01-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I hit the road for 8 miles yesterday.  It was a beautiful day: 65 degrees, clear skies, and a slight breeze.  It was nice to get back downtown and run along the water.  I missed running along the bay.  It was peaceful.  I’m sure that will change next week with the Super Bowl coming to town.  I know there’s a celebrity football game in the park where I usually run, so maybe I’ll get to spot P. Diddy or Terry Bradshaw or Jon Lovitz.

The total for the week was 30 miles with one “quality” run, 2 full body strength training sessions, 1 core training class and two planned days off.  Next week consists of 36 miles with three “quality” runs, 2 strength training sessions, 1 core training class and 1 planned day off.

(1) Comment    Read More   
January
23
Posted on 23-01-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I headed to the gym today for 6 easy miles on the treadmill and my first Friday core training class since early December.  As an aside, has anyone else seen people driving around the parking lot of their local gym looking for the perfect parking spot?  What’s the logic there?

“I don’t want to have to walk too far get to the treadmill”?

I usually park in the first spot I see.  In her Clark Griswald way, my wife tends to park far away from the building so she gets a little extra exercise on the way in.  I wonder if anyone has every studied fitness club parking behavior.  Perhaps I’ll suggest it to my daughters as a science fair project next year.

My 6 miles on the treadmill went pretty well again.  It wasn’t as easy as yesterday, but still not hard.  My legs are pretty sore from the Wednesday’s speed work and Thursday strength training.  It feels good, though.  I feel stronger and faster already.  Whether I actually am is another question altogether.

After the treadmill, I headed to the Friday core conditioning class.  It was quite full today since a lot of people are still on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon.  We did a half hour complete abdominal curcuit.  It totaled 8 stations and I was pretty shredded after about 3.  Luckily, the last two were planks and throwdowns which I actually enjoy doing.  So, I had something to look forward to at the end.

Somehow, I forgot to stretch today.  I was already in the shower before I realized it, so I did a few stretches in the shower.  I’m looking forward to a nice day tomorrow with perhaps an 8 mile run on tap.  Tonight, though, it’s Tequila Lime tilapia, some rum and friends’ hot tub.

(3) Comments    Read More   
January
22
Posted on 22-01-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

I was back on the treadmill today for 6 easy miles.  Things went pretty well and it actually felt pretty easy – or at least as easy they did before the race.  Afterward, I headed down to the weights for some strength training.  I tried my first exercise from the Terrence Mahon powerpoint presentation: the single leg squat.

I performed it with a 40lb dumbell in each hand and that was pretty tough.  I did one set of 10 reps and only got 6 reps on the second set.  The balance was especially tricky.  Then I did some seated calf raises with 115 lbs.  That’s all  I stressed the legs today (they were still feeling yesterday’s intervals).

I followed the legs with 2 sets of 10 reps with 230 lbs on the decline press, 2 sets of 8 with 100 lbs on the incline press, High rows with 70 lbs on each side, Shoulder shrugs with 55 lb dumbells in each hand and bicep curls with 40 lbs on each arm.

It was good to get out of the post-race funk.  They say you should recover 1 days after a half marathon.  I’m at 12 days now, so that’s about right.

(1) Comment    Read More   
January
21
Posted on 21-01-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

After hitting the treadmill for 5 easy miles on Monday, I took Tuesday off to go to the dentist and planned my first speed intervals since the fall for today.  I woke up to 38 degree temperatures and 30 MPH winds, so I opted to do the speed intervals on the treadmill.  Speed intervals on the treadmill aren’t horrible.  They’re certainly consistant and hey if I don’t keep the pace, I get shot off the back and into the unsuspecting lady on the elliptical trainer behind me.  So, we’ll call that extra motivation.

For those following along in the book, I’m a Vdot 47.  Sure, my last race time would indicate that I’m still a 46, but I justified the increase with naturally running faster than my prescribed paces in the weeks leading up to the race and the somewhat shaky argument that “I could have taken another 2 minutes off my race time if I had been less conservative”.

So, according to the 5K plan that I’ve bastardized and started on week 8, today’s workout should have been 10 to 12 x (400m at R pace + 400m jog).  Ahhh, but there’s also the stipulation that the total time at R pace should not exceed 5% of the week’s total mileage.  Since I’m still in a sort of recovery mode, this week’s total mileage is planned for 30 miles.  5% of 30 is 1.5 miles.  Thus, only 6 intervals.  My current R pace dictates completing a 400 m interval in 92 seconds (a little over 6:00 min/mile pace).  That doesn’t sound too bad considering it’s roughly twice the time it takes the typical Olympic 400m specialist to complete the distance.

As is often the case, theory and practice did not jive today.  In my defense, I did not fall off the back of the treadmill into the woman on the elliptical trainer behind me.  I even completed a warm up mile at my easy pace, all 6 intervals at the prescribed pace with 10 min/mile jogs in between plus the bonus cool down mile at easy pace for a grand total of 5 miles.  I was sucking some serious wind, though.  Legs were mildly disgruntled, but lungs were not happy at all.  They were quite irate.  I thought for a moment they might rip themselves out of my chest and go live with someone else for a while.

Usually, I feel pretty good about a run almost right after I’m finished.  Today, I was well past the post run stretch and halfway through my shower before I could actually begin to admit to myself that what I had just done was actually good for me.  Now here’s the really fun part.  I’ve thrown out 1:15:00 as my goal for the Walt Disney World half marathon in 2010.  That’s about 5:43 min/mile pace for 13.1 miles.  Today, 6:08 min/mile for 0.25 miles at a time felt pretty crumby.  Someday, I’ll link back to this post with pride at how far I’ve come, but right now I’m just dreading having to actually do more intervals next week.

(6) Comments    Read More   
January
18
Posted on 18-01-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Has anyone else tried to research strength training for distance runners?  I’ll save you the trouble.  You can Google it and get just about any answer you want.  There are those that say you shouldn’t strength train at all because it will make you too bulkly.  There are those that say you should only strength train your upper body because your legs get enough work already.  There are those who day you should strength train, but you should use low weight with many repetitions.  There are those who say you should strength train with high weight and low repetition to build power.

The worst part is that for each of the above strategies, there’s an elite distance runner who follows it.  In my experience, I’ve been able to work myself through overuse injuries using strength training.  I definately think that the strength training and body building I did this year before the half marathon kept me injury free compared to last year when I stopped my strength training when my mileage got high and started taking up more time.  This year I did my strength workouts right up to my taper – ceasing them during the three week taper before the race – and I performed quite well.  In any case, I’m not worried about bulking up.  Running a lot of miles makes that quite difficult no matter what else you do.

A few years ago, I met Elliot Hulse at a networking group.  I ended up on his email list.  I’ve followed him as he’s gone on to become Florida strongman champion and finished 4th in his weight class during the strongman nationals this fall.  Elliot will be the first to admit that he’s no distance runner.  Quite the opposite in fact.  He’s built for short anaerobic bursts of power.  His training methods are interesting, though. Just check out some of his videos.  They look fun (if tiring).

While I agree that the best way to become a better runner is to run, I wonder if such power training could help a distance runner.  Personally, I think that weight training with light weights and high repetitions is useless.  That’s not really different than running.  Although running is primarily an aerobic activity, I think of each footfall individually as a power move.  The faster and more efficiently you move from heel strike to toe off, the further forward each footfall pushes you.

In any case, I did find a powerpoint presentation by Terrance Mahon, head coach of Team Running USA (Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor).  They do use weight training – a combination of olympic lifts, dumbell work, flexibility and plyometrics.  So, I’m using that as a sort of guide as I develop a strength training plan this spring with the hope of increasing my speed.  Of course I’ll be doing some standard stuff like 200, 400 and 800 m repeats at high speed as well.  I”ll try to document what I do and see if it helps.

Today I headed out for 4 easy miles, but went too fast again.  I completed it quite winded, averaging 7:48 per mile.  I”ll be hitting the treadmill for 5 tomorrow, insuring an easy pace.

(4) Comments    Read More   
January
16
Posted on 16-01-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

In the weeks leading up to the Walt Disney World half marathon, I avoided sick people religiously.  That was pretty tough considering the holidays and all the neices, nephews, daughters and wife who had the sniffles.  I’m thankful that I was able to run the race healthy and not too surprised that I developed a sore throat only two days later.  Fortunately, I think I’ve been able to hold off the ger moffensive and stall it in the throat for now.  With any luck it won’t spread deeper into my respiratory system.

I took Sunday off, sleeping in then walking around the Animal Kingdom for half the day.  I nearly fell alseep on the drive home and it’s a good thing I didnt because I was driving.  On Monday I did 9 miles on the stationary bike.  My quads were still a bit sore, but the bike loosened them up.  Tuesday was 3 miles on the treadmill at 9:06 pace.  That was pretty easy and I hit the weights for an upper body workout afterward.

I planned on running outside Wednesday, but didn’t really feel like it so I didn’t.  I figured if there was a week I could do that without feeling guilty, this was it.  I took a long bath instead.  Thursday, I had a meeting and didn’t workout at all.  Today I went to the chiropracter, but made it outside for 3 miles at 7:53 pace.  That was faster than I wanted to do it and my lungs didn’t enjoy the experience so much, but it did seem to clear me out a little.

I’ve tentatively added the Gasparilla 5K to my schedule on February 28th.  It’ll be my first chance to break 20, and will allow me to check out the organization for the Gasparilal full marathon which I’m hoping to run in February 2010.   I’m going to try to run 3-4 5K races this spring.  Then I’ll use the summer to build my mileage up again.  I’ll run the Charger Classic 5K with my daughter’s cross country team in the fall, then probably Disney Race for the Taste 10K in October.  The goal is to be at 100 miles per week by mid October, with a peak mileage of 120 miles per week in training for the full marathon.  I’ll be using the Jack Daniels elite plan.

I’ll probably do about 30 miles next week with maybe 1 “quality” run.  Then I’ll be into a regular 5 K program the next week.  I should average about 30-40 miles per week until the summer.  That’s the current plan anyway…

(3) Comments    Read More   
January
11
Posted on 11-01-2009
Filed Under (Races) by Brian

Walt Disney World marathon expo

This story begins back in October.  When I registered for the WDW half marathon back in March (Okay, maybe it begins in March), the only qualifying proof of time I had for my corral placement was my 5:27 ish marathon time from January 2008.  This was going to put me pretty far back in the pack, behind a lot of slower runners.  I submitted that time anyway, then put Disney’s Race for the Taste 10K on my calendar.  The goal was to run the 10K fast enough to get me to the front of the pack at the start of the half marathon.  I achieved that goal, running Disney’s Race for the Taste 10K in 44:55 in October.

I emailed my new proof of time and hopefully waited.  I arrived at the race expo on Friday afternoon, fingers crossed.  When I received my corral assignment, I was happy to see that it said “corral A, wave 1”.  Right behind the elite runners.

Saturday morning started at 3:00 am.  As is my custom, I set the alarm and scheduled a wake up call.  I got both.  After gathering my things together, I zipped my jacket over my sleeveless tee and headed for the bus.  I was the last person on the first bus to the start and I arrived with plenty of time to spare.  The start was pretty cold.  An 80’s band played as I consumed one of my homemade energy bars and an orange juice from the Wilderness Lodge general store.  Once I was finished, I walked around for a while.  I needed to pin my number to my shirt, but it was so cold that I didn’t want to remove my jacket.  So, I slipped into the merchandise tent (with a lot of other people hiding from the cold) and pinned the number.  Then, I slipped my jacket back on, headed back outside and attached my timing chip to my shoe.

Now that my standard issue clear plastic bag was nearly empty, I wadded it up in my hand and began warming up by jogging around the staging area.  The announcer was calling for everyone to check their bags and move into the holding pin, but I kept warming up, waiting as long as possible with my jacket on.  Finally, I headed through baggage claim at about 4:50 am, removed my jacket, put it in the plastic bag and checked it.  On the other side of the tent, I found the shortest port a potty line I could and waited.  I was cold.  I spent about a half hour in line rubbing my arms trying to stay warm.

My trip to the port a potty didn’t yield as much as I hoped and despite the smell, I wanted to stay inside because I was cold, but I exited and started headed toward my corral.  I arrived at the corral with 10 minutes to spare, then worked my way through the crowd until I found the 1:40:00 pace group.

startI spot the balloons and a sign and pull as close as I can to Dave, the leader of the group.  I’m about 15 feet behind him, but I figure that as long as I’ve got him in sight at the start, I can work my way up.  We listen to the National Anthem, watch the wheelchair start, the countdown to our own start.  Before I know it, we’re off.

I cross the start line 13 seconds after the gun and I keep my eyes plastered on Dave.  About 50 feet up the road, he uncomfortably fiddles with his 1:40 sign, then chucks it into the woods.  All that’s left are his 3 “1:40” balloons bobbing up and down.  The sad image of Marie and her “5:00” balloons bobbing off into the distance leaving me behind at the 16 mile mark of last year’s marathon enters my head.  I vow not to let that happen again, focus intently on Dave’s balloons and work my way through the crowd.

The pace is comfortable and I’m breathing with a 3-3 pattern.  Somewhere just before the 1 mile mark, I pull onto Dave’s shoulder, tuck into the rest of the group and hit a solid rhythm like I have never hit before.  We pass the 1 mile mark a few seconds off the pace, but Dave is checking his own Garmin religiously and I’m confident I’ll beat my goal time if I can only stick with him.  We head down an exit ramp and we’re at the 2 mile mark before I know it.

I’m floating.  I’ve just run 2 miles at near 7:30 pace and my body feels like it’s never left the hotel room.  Deep down, I already know I’ve got my goal.  The plan is to stay with the pace group until at least 10 miles, so I stay tucked in behind Dave as we approach the transportation and ticket center.

We run through the Magic Kingdom main gate, pass the 3 mile mark, then over the mat that indicates the 5K mark.  My 5K split is 23:44.  We’re still a few seconds off our pace, but the group is solid.  We’re all in a rhythm.  We move as an amorphous blob, each aware of the everyone else’s movement.  There is movement around within the group, but the whole moves steadily forward – now past the 4 mile mark.

Once inside the transportation and ticket center, the first real crowds appear.  The cheering is loud and everyone’s pace picks up.  Filled with the energy of the crowd, I pull ahead of Dave.  Realizing I’ve got a long way to go, I slow again and tuck myself behind him.  The excitement of the moment has messed up my breathing rhythm and I’ve developed a stitch on my right side.  I focus on deep breaths over the next mile.  We proceed toward the Contemporary resort, down a steep incline, under the water and up the other side.  We pass one of the wheelchair athletes.  He’s having a tough time with the steep incline.  The hints of my own stitch are gone as we top the incline and pass the 5 miles mark.  I check my watch.  We’ve got 5 seconds in the bank now.  Dave checks his own and proudly announces that we’re right on pace.

We enter the magic kingdom as memories of last year creep back into my head.  I turn onto Main Street USA thinking about how I ran this section with my butt cheeks clenched as tight as could be last year.  I’m still floating.  My breathing is a steady 3-3 pattern.  I’m feeling fantastic.  I may as well be out for a walk in the park.  This way is much better.

crazycastleAs the lead pace group, we’re getting quite a bit of encouragement from the crowd.  We pass into Tomorrowland, round the Tea Cups into Fantasyland where we pass Winnie the Pooh and many other characters.  We approach the castle where trumpeters are playing above us and Cinderella cheers with Prince Charming and the Fairie Godmother.  The group breaks up a bit inside the castle – each of us preparing for the photo on the exit.  We pass a videographer and several still photographers.  I give double thumbs up to one of the photographers, mimicking a pose my daughter gave me when I photographed her in one of her races this fall.

The group quickly pulls back together and we cross the bridge into Liberty Square.  Mickey and Minnie are there posing in their colonial garb.  There aren’t many people getting pictures at this stage of the race.  We’re all pretty serious about time, but someone behind me comments about how much fun this is.  It truly is.  I’m having a blast.

We exit the park through Frontierland and cross over another mat.  Someone announces that it’s the 10K mark, but I don’t recall passing the 6 mile mark.  I check my watch and they’re right.  I guess I was having too much fun to notice the mile marker.  We pass into the back stage area where I spilled my intestines last year.  The port a potties aren’t even there this year.  The group breaks up as we run through a water station.  I follow Dave right through middle and the group reforms on the other side.  I look back, having exorcised the demons of last year.  We cross a bridge and we’re 6.55 miles in.

“Halfway to halfway,” Dave announces, “keep up the good work!”  We’ve entered a lonely stretch of road as we pass the 7 mile mark.  Dave encourages us to take some deep breaths and shake out our arms.  I take his advice.  My breathing is still 3-3 and I can’t believe it.  I’m starting to feel the effort a little, but I”m easily keeping with the group and I’ve only got 5 miles left.

The road here is narrow and a few people pull up on us asking if we’re going for a certain goal.  I tell them we’re shooting for 1:40 and they tack on to the back.  Someone asks if there will be churros on the course and I joke that we won’t see them until we’re back in Epcot.  Someone comments that the countries won’t be open when we get there and I complain that we won’t be able to get margaritas during the last mile.

The chatter dies down a bit as we hit the 8 mile mark near the Grand Floridian resort.  Small crowds line the course here, but the cheering isn’t all that loud.  Feeling the effort a little more now, I’ve finally fallen into a 3-2 breathing pattern and I’m starting to look for the mile markers now.  I focus on the cadence of the rest of the group and remain tucked comfortably just behind Dave.

We’re well on our way back to Epcot as we pass the 9 mile mark.  A high school marching band plays for us.  We pass through another water station.  It’s fun to watch the group break apart at the water station.  Some run ahead, get water and fall back to the group.  Others grab water, fall behind, then catch back up.  I’ve hydrated well in the previous day and run several 13 mile training runs without water, so I stay tucked behind Dave through the middle of the station and (as always) the group quickly pulls together within 50 feet of the other side.

We pass the 15K mat, our chips beeping as emails and text messages get sent out across the globe.  I’m focusing on deep breaths, but my breathing is starting to go to a 2-2 pattern now.  We hit the 10 mile mark.

“5K to go!” Dave yells out to us.  I’m thinking the same thing.  We move forward to a circular highway entrance ramp.  There’s and incline and a bank to the road here.  We work our way up and I’m on the back of the group taking an inside line.  After about a tenth of a mile I notice the guy I’m tailing has started to lose contact with the group.  Dave is starting to pull off in the distance.  I take a deep breath, pass the guy on the outside, then catch Dave.  I tuck in behind him again and we crest the entrance ramp.  The effort results in a stitch on my right side again.  I focus on deep breaths as the road levels out.  The  stitch is still there, but it’s not getting any worse.

I see spaceship Earth in the distance.  If I can manage this stitch, I’ve got this race.  We hit another incline in the road through another water station.

“Just keep your cadence”, Dave urges us, “you don’t need to speed up”.

We methodically work our way up the incline and no one from the group takes water at this station.  We reach the top and pass the 11 mile mark.  We can see the entire Epcot parking lot laid out before us as we head back down the incline.

“We’re back at Epcot,” announces Dave, “we’ve got about 30 seconds in the bank.  Time to push to the finish”.

My thoughts drift toward venturing past the group and finishing on my own, but the hint of the stitch prevents me from doing so.  If it flares up too bad, I’ll lose a minute or two.  I know I can stick with the group and hit my goal.  We round a large curve into the Epcot parking lot, then pass the 12 mile mark.  A guy in a purple tutu catches us, chats with Dave for a while, then surges ahead.  We pass the Epcot bus stops and enter the park through a backstage area.  I’m confident I can hold off the stitch now, so I pick up the pace a bit.

surgingI hover just ahead of the group as one of the group members talks to Dave about tomorrow’s marathon (She’s running the Goofy).  When we pass Spaceship Earth, she thanks Dave, a surges ahead.  I follow her.  Picking up speed, we pass the Future World fountain and make a hairpin turn at the World Showcase.  Heading back toward the front of the park, I glance at my Garmin.  I’m pushing sub 7:00 pace now and passing a few people who’ve bonked.  The pavement turns downward as I pass Spaceship Earth and turn into a backstage area.

“Show me the 13 mile mark,” I think to myself.  I make another turn, then pass the Gospel choir and spot the 13 mile mark.  I’ve got plenty of time.  As soon as I pass the 13 mile mark, I spot the finish.  The pace has picked up and the crowd lines the route.  I spot Chip, Dale, Lilo and Stitch ahead.  I high five them all, cross the finish line in 1:38:57, hit the stop button my Garmin, then give myself a congratulatory clap.

davidflemingfinishSurprisingly, I get rapidly nauseous upon finishing.  I hold back the puke for a series of four wretches.  The fourth brings up a bit of bile, but I swallow it back down.  One of the group members comes up behind me, slaps me on the back and gives me a handshake.  He jogs ahead and does the same for the woman from the group who finished in front of me.

I grab a mylar blanket, get my chip removed, receive my medal, grab some water and powerade, then pass through the food tent without picking anything up.  I actually remember to get my photo taken this time before heading to baggage claim.  There’s nobody in the tent other than about 20 volounteers.  This is the first indication that I’ve run this race kind of fast.  I get my bag, then meet the family on the other side.  They’re relieved to see that unlike last year, I can actually walk.  We get a few pics taken before heading back to the Wilderness Lodge for a nap.

The whole experience was pretty cool.  For the first time, I felt like I was running at a fast pace without much effort.  I migh have left the group earlier and had a better time, but my goal was really to break 1:40:00 so I played it conservatively.  Dave did a fantastic job of pacing us and the group as a whole was great.  We didn’t talk much or know each other at all.  I’m not sure I could pick any of the others out in a lineup, but it really felt like we worked as a team for 12 miles.  We certainly got more cheers from the crowd than we would have on our own.

My 1:38:57 was good for 307th place out of 12,434 finishers. I believe there were an additional 3000 or so who started and did not finish.  I was 37th out of 564 in my age group.

officialI’d like to congratulate Lindsay, who kicked my butt by running a 1:34:13 in the half and then ran a 4:04:something in the full marathon the next day.  I’ll probably hit the stationary bike for some easy rides this week and do a few 2 or 3 mile easy runs.  I’ll be focusing on short races this spring and then building a high base mileage over the summer.  I’m about 90% sure I’ll be running the Disney half marathon again next year as a warm up for the Gasparilla marathon in February 2010.  I’ll tentatively set 1:15:00 as my goal for next year, but we’ll see how the training goes.  I’ll post pictures when they’re available.

(14) Comments    Read More   
ss_blog_claim=85e82aa4e47806279366e044450e742b ss_blog_claim=85e82aa4e47806279366e044450e742b