running with the mouse ~ the 2009 disney marathon

January 14, 2009 at 9:52 pm 2 comments

the alarm went off at 2:30 a.m. and i was surprised how rested i felt. typically the nervous tension of a race leaves me tossing and turning the night before but somehow i’d managed to find my often elusive sleep. my clothes had been carefully laid out the night before finally decided on after the last weather report and the final opinion from the karate chick. her choice being the outfit that looked more “bad ass”. somehow that seemed the attitude i had to find.

we took our time getting ready. there’s nothing i hate more than feeling rushed and thankfully i had risen early enough to avoid any chance of being late. it was 3:30 a.m. when we headed out and a little after 4 a.m. when we arrived. the crowd was surging with energy. some looked eager to get running, others, scared to death. and i … i very strangely felt neither. never before have i faced a race that didn’t leave anxious anticipation surging through me. be it the challenge of a new distance or the desire to set a PR, i have always had to fight to silence an underlying tension.

but this was different. i never felt the nerves. not once. they were there i know. but hidden beneath a composure that surprised even me. though i knew there were more than 15,000 people running beside me, i hardly registered their presence. this run was mine. mine alone.

i left the karate chick at her corral and headed toward mine. submitted half marathon times had placed me in a position that couldn’t have been more ideal. there were two separate course starts ~ one red, one blue ~ with different paths the first 3 miles before coming together. the first corral of red was the elite runners. the ones i would never see. and the next fastest groups were all blue. i was in the next group ~ the fastest of the slow, or maybe the slowest of the fast ~ a red start positioned behind the elites. from gun to start took a mere 50 seconds and then i was off.

the first few miles were simply about finding my run. more than once the desire to break through the pack was a temptation and the frequent looks to the garmin occasionally showed a sub 9-minute pace. the goal was a 10 average and i knew anything much faster would leave me with no chance to maintain. it was here that my rational, controlling nature proved worthwhile and i found the self control to bring myself back in to where i knew i needed to be. go out fast, never last. set the pace, win the race.

i knew going in that a large part of the race was on service roads. spectator-ship would be at a minimum and internal reflection at an extreme. to some this may have proved a challenge but thankfully i came complete with plenty of discussions to finally have with myself. avoidance at it’s best put to rest by forced meditation. a primary reason i both curse and relish my run.

there’s little i can say about the first 18 miles. it was a run. my run. familiar footfalls on a foreign path. i kept a steady 9:40 ~ a little faster than goal but with the hope to give myself some time in reserve if need be later. i’d drift sometimes. slow down a bit. but then we’d turn a corner into the magic of disneyworld and the rush of the crowds and the experience of  running down main street or through cinderellas castle would give an extra boost of adrenaline and i’d hit 9 minutes miles. but all in all my splits were about as perfect as i could have hoped for.

the plan was for JJ to be waiting to join me at mile 16. a race bandit to run by my side and take me through any challenge. but mile 16 came and went and there were no spectators other than park employees. mile 17 … mile 18 … i started to get nervous and thought i was going to have to go it alone but just after mile 18 i came around a corner to masses of people and there he was. he fell in beside me and started pushing what had become a near 10 minute pace to a 9:30 but i told him to hold back ~ save it. somehow i knew i would need it. we ran side by side. almost in total silence.

it was right about mile 24 that i hit the proverbial wall. there was no transition. no slow demise. and i’m not sure it’s a feeling i can even begin to explain. i wasn’t tired per se. i had the stamina. and though i hurt everywhere there was no intense pain to have to find a way to push through. i should have been ok. but there was simply no more communication between my brain and my legs. i tried to shake it off but before i knew it i had spoken words i rarely say ~ “i can’t do it”. but JJ refused to listen. he pushed, encouraged, disagreed, forced me to shut down the brain and simply zen the run. it was a struggle and each step felt like the last i could manage but i simply let my body go. i’d heard the mind quits before the body and it was so so true. if you can’t release. if you over think the wall … you’re done!

unbeknownst to me, at mile 24.07, my garmin had been stopped. maybe by a stray elbow or maybe on my hydration belt. i’ll never know. but it was close to mile 25 before i noticed and restarted time. but with more than 1,000 feet gone unrecorded, i suddenly felt disconcerted. i didn’t know for certain where i was ~ not in space or time. we passed mile 25 and i tried to regain my bearings but it all seemed wrong. i’ve never faced a longer mile. i was convinced they had mismarked. forgotten mile 26 all together and that at any given moment the finish line would materialize right in front of me. i couldn’t look at the people along side. i had to completely lose  myself simply to keep my mind from giving up. i could hear JJ telling me to keep running. this is what i had trained for. i would make my goal. there was no other option!

when we crossed the mile 26 marker everything changed. the last .2 was like floating on air. no pain. no exhaustion. no more feeling as though i couldn’t go on. JJ pulled back and let me go it on my own and i crossed that line, arms held high, feeling like i had just conquered the world.

the 2009 disney marathon ~ my first marathon ~ 4:21:24

placement ~
3,483 out of 14,940 finishers … the top 24 percent overall.
1,034 out of 7,139 women … the top 15 percent of women.
219 out of 1,318 in my age group … the top 18 percent in my age group.

i am a marathoner.

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Entry filed under: life, relationships, running.

timing mickey where to run to

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Run DMT  |  January 15, 2009 at 12:44 am

    Awesome job, Becelisa! You are most certainly a marathoner and can wear the title proudly! Congratulations! Now, onto Gasparilla!!! 🙂

    Reply
  • 2. sarah  |  January 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    congratulations becca!!!

    Reply

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the best of times

5k pr ~ 24:23
10k pr ~ 52:49
half marathon pr ~ 1:55:10
marathon pr ~ 4:10:41
half ironman pr ~ 5:57:50
50k pr ~ 5:33:23
50-mile pr ~ 11:32:39

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