Monday, January 28, 2008

26.2 Bling!

Tired of losing your drink because all wine glass charms look the same? Don't know what to do with that medal you spent 4 months pounding pavement for? VoilĂ !

But seriously ...

If your hard-earned medals are lost in the clutter somewhere like mine, I've got an idea. Send me a pic, and I'll post it on 26.2 Bling. You can search by marathon, by year, or by yourself, to see everyone else's medal. Display case? We don't need no stinkin' display case. We've got ourselves here one giant online display case for everyone to share!

Full instructions are here. If you like the idea, pass the word around!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Carpe Diem

I was inspired by Spirit of the Marathon to finish my 2-week break and start running again. The weather and my warm bed conspired to stretch the break one more day.

By 8:00-ish, I was out driving the kids to their weekend activities, and I saw a few brave souls pounding the pavement, misty-breathed, fighting the chill. I've been there done that so many times myself, and I'll bet so have many of you, yet why did feel a tinge of regret that I'm not out there in the elements too? All runners are masochists.

My last marathon training took me from July 07 to January 08. For the first time since last summer, I'm:

a. Not stuffing myself at every meal
b. Back in cahoots with red wine - yay!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spirit Of The Marathon

Encore presentation on Feb 21 in case you missed it tonight. I highly recommend it. It'll make you want to get up and sign up for that next marathon immediately.
Plus, I now want to run Chicago one day. After NYC, and London, and Austin ...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Disney - The 2nd Half

After David drifted off, it was just me and the 2nd half. The next ten 1-mile segments pretty much went like this:

1. Run
2. Don't walk, don't walk, don't walk
3. Where's the #*&^!(! water stop already?
4. Do the marathon shuffle
5. Stumble into water stop

6. Drink 2 of whatever they're offering
7. Walk to end of water stop

8. Bite down and go back to #1

This method took me through the Animal Kingdom and several miles of primo Disney highway. Despite not having any cramps, and not walking except through the water stops, I steadily lost pace all the way up to mile 23.

At mile 23, in the middle of Disney Hollywood Studios, the crowd really started coming on, and I decided it was time. Just suck it up and keep running. I picked up the pace, ever so barely, from this point on.

The crowd, the pavement, the boardwalk, the traffic cones, it was all beginning to be just a blur. Finally we turned the corner into EPCOT, and I knew we were close. A mile and change to go! We started running around the main circular lagoon, which looked as big as the Pacific Ocean from what my mind registered. You could see tiny people the size of ants running clear across the other side of the lagoon, and every time I looked across, it seemed like I wasn't getting any closer. I thought the damn thing would NEVER end.

Finally we get off the lagoon and we're almost under the EPCOT silver globe thing, and the end has to be around here somewhere. I'm way beyond running on fumes by now. Note to self: next time pay attention - you saw the Finish area at 5:30 am this morning - it's not INSIDE Epcot, but OUTSIDE Epcot. So, a bazillion turns later through myriad "Cast Member Access" only pathways, we eventually get to the finish line.

After collecting my medal and blanket, I stumbled to the curb and sat down for a few minutes, ok, maybe several. I was a bit nauseous, ok, maybe a lot nauseous, and I wasn't about to risk standing up! Some officials half heartedly asked us to move on "as soon as we were ready". Eventually I did, and went through the drill - pick up more Powerade, a couple of tangerines, and got my picture taken.

I went outside to the meetup area, and David, patience of Job, found me after a few minutes. We chatted for awhile, during which I swore off marathons for a long long time. It was late in the morning and we were now baking in the middle of a large converted parking lot. We said our goodbyes, David headed to the monorail to pick up his car, and I headed out to my parking lot, where I promptly spent 20 minutes and another mile looking for my sister's silver SUV which I parked 100 yards from the finish. Go figure.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Disney - The Day After

I'm walking absolutely fine now, but it wasn't so pretty the day of and day after Disney. The family units who have never seen me after a marathon were momentarily alarmed, and did not exactly buy my explanation that this was completely "normal", to wit:

I still need to post about the 2nd half of Disney, but I couldn't resist this little snippet.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Disney - The 1st Half

When I hit the half-mary mats at 1:58 and change, I wasn’t sure which emotion would take over. There was relief that less miles lay ahead than were already behind me. Unfortunately, there was disbelief that it had taken this much gas out of my tank to get this far.

It all started as well as well can be:

04:10 Left hotel
04:35 Pull into EPCOT parking spot, barely 100 yards from finish area
05:00 Leave car and walk to finish area
05:05 Marvel at people buying hot dogs from concessions, must still be carbo loading
05:10 Realize it’s a FINISH area, not a START area – ah so
05:30 Complete ½ mile walk to the START area
05:35 Wander into Corral A – stake position at back-most spot
05:40 Visit edge of tropical forest for 1-1 nature time
05:41 Wander back into Corral A
05:45 Speedoman enters corral – boo hiss eeww
05:50 Obligatory speeches begin
05:58 Barriers between corrals are removed, crowd surges forward
05:59 Fireworks overhead
06:00 GO!

When the crowd surged forward, the 4:00 pace group from Corral B moved up and I pretty much started with them. The first 6 miles were uneventful, running in the dark, a loop around EPCOT, just keeping up. The pace seemed fast, and Garmin said I was averaging 8:50's instead of 9:09. I was also drenched immediately from the humidity. A storm passed through the previous night, and it was still foggy and misty. I'm not sure when this pic was taken, but can you see my clothes sticking to me? Good thing I remembered nip guards!

The next 6 miles took me towards and through the Magic Kingdom. The pace team was still in sight, but creeping further and further ahead. We pretty much ran through all the major areas, Main Street USA, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Frontierland. The highlight of course is the signature run through Cinderella's Castle. Disney cast characters were everywhere, and several people stopped to take their pictures with them - must not be trying to PR. If you really want to mess with some runners, next time stop and do a little shopping in the gift shops along the way - that will psych them out!

Once we left Frontierland, I knew I was in for a lonely 5 mile stretch of highway to the Animal Kingdom. It was approaching 2 hours and my 3rd GU. From this point on, it would be a GU-fest every 30 mins.

It was also along this stretch that I hit the half-mary mats. I was lost in my relief vs. disbelief debate with myself, trying to muscle down that 3rd GU pack, when someone pulled in behind me and to the right, and said "how're you doing?". A bit startled, but too tired to react instantly, I must've turned my head in slow motion and lo and behold it was David grinning from ear to ear! I wasn't expecting him, but it sure was good to see him. That's how I felt, but not what I said - I barely mustered 10 words total - pretty sure "tired", "tough", and "hard" were in there somewhere! David said something about see you at the end or something, and then he was off.

2:00 and change in the bag, still on pace, but I could sense trouble lay ahead. All the parts were still working, although the engine was beginning to lose power. One thing I knew I absolutely positively did not want to do, above all else, was ... walk. That, was a mighty battle. Next time up, the 2nd half.

Monday, January 14, 2008

That Was No Mickey Mouse Run

4:17:23 was not exactly what I had in mind, but I'll look at every finish as a gift not to be rejected. For the record, here are the splits according to Garmin. I'll post a report later, but if anyone knows how I picked up an extra 0.4 miles, please let me know!

Mile 1: 9:18
Mile 2: 9:02
Mile 3: 8:37
Mile 4: 8:38
Mile 5: 8:40
Mile 6: 8:50
Mile 7: 8:42
Mile 8: 8:50
Mile 9: 8:55
Mile 10: 8:55
Mile 11: 9:05
Mile 12: 9:02
Mile 13: 9:21
Mile 14: 9:30
Mile 15: 9:33
Mile 16: 9:20
Mile 17: 9:44
Mile 18: 10:02
Mile 19: 10:30
Mile 20: 11:07
Mile 21: 11:06
Mile 22: 11:06
Mile 23: 11:39
Mile 24: 11:08
Mile 25: 10:59
Mile 26: 10:12
Mile 26.6: 5:28

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It's Disney Time

It’s the night before Disney. Got a ton of sleep last night, getting up close to 10 am. It was a beautiful Central Florida morning outside, and b-i-l R. took me on a tour of their lake. R said he’s hardly seen 4 or 5 gators in the year or so they’ve been on this lake, and I was glad we didn’t see #6. I’m a runner, not a swimmer.

After lunch, I met up with David at the Orlando Ale House. It was good to catch up since our last meetup at MCM 2006. David brought son C., a sophomore in college here in town - intelligent, articulate, engaging – good thing for Mrs. T’s genes!

From there we headed over to Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex for the marathon expo. We missed the crowds and waltzed right on in to registration. Got my bib and chip in 10 mins; #1565, Corral A. Hmm, A? That’s does. not. sound. right.

I head over to David and Mr. Big-Man-Around-Town introduces me to B., who along with her husband founded and owns Track Shack here in town, and is also the race director for Disney! I told her my goal time and asked her about my corral placing. She confirmed that 4:00 is beyond the first corral, and that I lucked out to get in there (which I’m not yet sure is a good thing). She also said there would be 4000 runners in the corral, and I mentally pictured 3999 runners quickly emptying the chute in front of me, disappearing fast into the distance!

We cruised the expo for a while and then headed out around 5:00. On the way to the parking lot, Mr. Connected introduces me to D., who is the race chaplain and will also be manning the mile 22 food stop.

I checked into my hotel near Disney, and turned right around to head out for dinner. Randomly picking out Chilli's, I bump into D. again standing outside the restaurant, which I take as a sign that someone's watching over me, or is it that someone thinks I need a lot of help? If I do, it sure isn't in the food department. That Caesar's salad and Cajun Chicken Pasta didn't last long before I demolished it. Disney, here I come!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Ever since I hit "publish" on my last post, I feel like I've swallowed a frog and it's stuck in my throat. No amount of hacking or ahem-ing has shoo-ed it away, but I've been feeding it Airborne like there's no tomorrow. The jinx is on.

I'm slowly making my way to Orlando. Detour via Washington DC. With an unexpected hour to kill before a carbo loading dinner here, I ran 2 miles from Dupont Circle to the White House and 2 miles back. Last run before race day. It was easy peasy. There's the jinx again. I laugh in the face of danger. HA HA HA HA HA!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

23 down, 1 to go

July 31st, 2007 was the first step of my first run for marathon training. 23 weeks and 1 marathon later, I'm finally staring at the end goal. Disney, you've been a loooonng time coming.

The last 5 weeks since Memphis have been relatively easy running. I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying I've exceeded almost all the goal paces for all my runs, whereas that was always a struggle leading up to Memphis. I feel physically strong, but mentally my mind's been drifting - just so many runs and so many miles to cover ...

I was back at work last Wednesday. Ugh. On the bright side, my incomprehensible cross country trip to Seattle next week ... CANCELLED! However, I now have to be in Washington DC, so I'll fly in Wednesday night for that, and leave Thursday directly to Orlando. I'll work remotely from Orlando on Friday, expo on Saturday, race on Sunday, and fly home.

After Disney, I'll post my New Year running resolutions. There's a chance it may include something about wanting to wake up in the city that never sleeps ...