Pushing my Limits – Part 1

So the Disney Wine & Dine half marathon was this past weekend. I flew down on Friday, hoping to get a few hours of relaxation at the pool. I had used some frequent flyer miles for my flight and booked myself first class there and back. I didn’t need it going there, but for some reason the miles were about the same as coach so I thought what the hell, I’ll spoil myself. The flight down was amazing! Whatever plane they used was built for transatlantic travel with reclining seats and elevated footrests! I think flying with my legs elevated kept them from swelling and helped start the weekend right. I was so looking forward to having the same seat on the flight home!

I arrived with plenty of time for some pool fun with my friend Amy. The weather was perfect and it felt good to take a break from life for a few hours. Later that evening we went to dinner with Pitching in For Kids and met a friendly group of women from Connecticut. Amy and I continued to run into them all day Saturday, and I regret not getting their contact info. They were funny, and most importantly, REAL. Saturday, we tried to sleep late but about 9am was as late as we got. We had breakfast and ventured on the Disney buses to packet pick-up.

Disney sends you to two stations each focused on one task only. So the first is your bib, the second to get your tee shirt and “stuff”. Yep, you get stuff! The cool part was all the vendors selling all sorts of running things! But the best was this cream that quickly took my knee and leg pain away! Maybe I imagined it, but in a flash, my whole leg felt good! And for my friend Amy, her back immediately felt good! That was it, I was buying the gigantic bottle! With this maybe I could finish.

I guess I forgot to mention that I hadn’t been able to train much the last 8 weeks or more because I have Patellifemoral Pain Syndrome, or Runner’s Knee. Everything I’ve read on it just makes my head cringe. Nothing specific as to why I have it and nothing specific to make it go away. So here I was at this pretty popular half and not even sure I could make it a few miles! The week prior in Maine I tried running and couldn’t even go two miles without the pain becoming intense. Now you understand why this cream was my miracle!

So after lounging all day, – yes this race is run at night, I dressed, applied that magic cream, took ibruprophen, packed my phone, some samples of the cream to apply during the race and ibruprophen in my bra for during and after the race, and headed to ESPN Wide World of Sports where the race was to start!

It’s a lot if waiting doing a half. First you need transportation – here it was Disney buses which everyone waits on. Then there is waiting for all 20k plus participants to arrive. Then there is lining up in your corral, with the fastest runners first and us slow pokes in the rear. And then once the first corral goes there’s the wait for your corral. All in all, I think we arrived at ESPN at about 8:30 and we didn’t take off until about 10:30. All this time trying to keep your muscles stretched and ready to go.

When 10pm finally came, I joined Amy in her corral since it was an earlier one. It’s against the rules but I needed every minute on the course that I could get if I was to finish. If a runner does not keep a 16 minute mile pace or better, they can get swept. I had been pacing below that, before my knee gave me problems, but I wasn’t running close to that recently. Even though I kept saying I was most likely not going to finish, I guess I was still, deep down, doing everything I could to ensure I didn’t get swept. If I wasn’t going to finish, it would be because I chose to stop, not because some “balloon lady” – that is what folks were calling those that sweep the slow runners – pulled me off the course!

At about 10:30 it was our turn to start the race. Rain had just started and it wasn’t too bad. My fitbit chose to not sync with my phone and thus I had no gauge on my pace. I felt it was better than 16 minute, but I had no idea. Just before getting to Animal Kingdom, the first highlight of the course at about mile 3.5, the rain became so heavy I couldn’t see through my glasses. Sliding them onto my head didn’t help much since I still couldn’t see a thing with my vision! I was going to have to pause, get to a bathroom and dry off my glasses! I did it it as fast as I could and saw that my first tracker notification from RunDisney showed my pace at 15:16! Perfect! My history has been a steady pace so even if I slowed up a bit, I could do this!

I was now motivated to finish! My knee wasn’t feeling too bad. The rain was coming down, but hey, it’s just water. I would not stop after Animal Kingdom like I was saying earlier in the day. I would continue on to Hollywood Studios, through rain and pain!

To be continued…….

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