2017 Training Stats

Miles Completed = 29.01
(Run/Walked = 29.01, Biked = 0.0, Elliptical = 0.0)

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 Princes Half Trip Report - February 26, 2012 Part 1 (LONG)

Alarm one went off at 2:00am and alarm two followed quickly at 2:10am.  I got up, ate my Powerbar and got ready and geared up.  I headed out to the bus at 2:40am and was on board about 10 minutes later and we headed off at 2:55am.  Yes, if you're going to do a morning runDisney event it will be a very early start.

The bus arrived at 3:09am and I was surprised at how far out they dropped us off - it's the furthest out I've ever been dropped off before.  So it was a lengthy trek to the staging area, but I was okay with that.  Once I got in to the staging area I headed straight for a bio break.  Then I headed over to the T - Z family reunion tent to wait for Jonathan to arrive.

So, I had some time to think last night and frankly I was worrying about Jonathan finishing this race.  I know he's had some trouble with the last few races, but I also knew that he can do it, he's done it before and he needs to get back to that place.  I really wanted to make sure that he crossed the finish line this time.  I knew that I could help him finish if he was willing to put up with me.  I made the decision to talk to him as soon as I saw him and find out if he wanted help for this race.

Jonathan showed up and I skipped the niceties and went straight to the heart of the matter.  Yes, when I get my mind around something I jump right to it.  I asked him how bad he wanted this today.  He said he really wanted it.  I asked him if he wanted helped getting it.  He hesitated for a moment and said that he wanted me to run my race, but I said that I was more than prepared to help him through this race and that I could get him across the finish line.  He said okay in a hesitant sort of way.  Then I sprung the rules on him - oh yes, I had some rules.  There'd be no negativity, there would be no quiting no matter what, cramps, pain, aches - nope they don't exist.  Even if I had to push and/or drag him across the finish line I'd get him across the line and as close to 3:30 as I could.  He agreed - okay I have a run/walk partner for the race!

As we waited to head to the corrals we chatted with the WDW Radio Running Team folks.  It was funny because one of the ladies recognized me from the bus to the expo as we had chatted a bit before the bus showed up - Hi May :)!  Everyone on that team is very friendly and welcoming and I enjoyed chatting with them.

Then it was time for me to lay out the plan for the race to Jonathan.  Now, you know I've had my health struggles this year so I've had plenty of practice getting through races when it didn't always seem possible so of course I knew I could employee some of these tricks today.  The plan was for us to run at least some distance at every mile marker - I didn't care if it was 10 seconds or 10 minutes, but we would run so that we could help build a buffer.  Jonathan would be responsible for setting the run pace and amount of time we would run based on how he was feeling.  I would take responsibility for setting the walk pace and pushing when we needed to speed it up.  There would be no sweepers hunting us today.

At 4:26am we headed for the corrals.  As we made the slow walk we came across short lines at the second set of portapotties so we hopped in line for a bio break.  As I was waiting for Jonathan I watched a lady take a header right over one of those orange cones.  I really hate those cones in the middle of the road, I know I've tripped over them and I've watched others trip over them and this woman's fall could have been really bad.  Thankfully she was not seriously injured, but she was scraped up and pretty shaken up by the whole event and I can totally understand why.

I was in corral D, but I dropped back to corral E with Jonathan.  We entered the corral at 5:10am and were able to make our way all the way to the front of the corral.  I could tell that Jonathan didn't think he could do this and was a bit nervous and wanted as much buffer as he could get.  I was okay with that, but it gave me pause.  Could I do this, could I actually get us both across the finish line?  Would we flirt with the sweepers?  What if I couldn't help him do this?  How much would he hate me by the end of the race (I wasn't planning on being easy on him)?  I took this responsibility seriously.  I had helped my friend do her first half marathon without training, but could I do it again?  I'm sure I got a little quiet at this point, but I noticed that Jonathan was pretty quiet as well.  I'm sure he was worried about how hard I'd be on him, whether he could do it, etc...I think most people have some of these thoughts before a race - it's a challenge and anything can happen during a race.

They had a great sound system and screen up so we could see everything going on and they had the usual announcers and entertainment to keep everyone pumped and ready to go.  Finally it was time for the singing of the National Anthem at 5:30am.  Van Dobbins (I think that was his name) was the singer and he was amazing - beautiful voice.  There are between 19,000 and 20,000 runners registered for the race today as compared to the 8,000 that ran the first Princess Half (I was one of those runners).  There was a solo wheelchair athlete that was sent off to some great fireworks and then we had fireworks set off for each of the corrals as they were sent off.
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It was about 6:10am when it was finally our turn to go.  I let Jonathan set the pace as we started off at a light jog to warm up and get moving.  It was a bit chilly as we waited, but it felt good to get moving.  About 10 minutes in we took a quick break so Jonathan could commune with nature.  I'm not used to this, but I knew we'd be okay in terms of time.

Miles one and two went by pretty well and we were maintaining an okay pace.  It was just starting to get light out and we made a stop to get Jonathan's shoe laces adjusted correctly.  Then sadly at mile three there was a runner on a stretcher being attended to - I hate seeing this on the course it's just heartbreaking.  I think around here there was an amazing character stop with a whole bunch of the lead male characters - there were at least four or five of them maybe more.

I don't remember all the characters that were out and where, but I'll sprinkle in the photos included with my Brightroom order around where I think they might have been (I thought this was a cool addition for this race photo package and hope they continue the practice since I'm too slow to stop and take pictures).

We continued our run at each mile marker - Jonathan was in charge of these and so far he was doing really well.  After mile three there was no leg pain and no side stitches.  I was a little worried when he said he was tired so I started to push a little bit and told him he's not allowed to think like that - tiredness is a state of mind today and if you tell yourself you're not tired you won't be.  I was using my Lifesavers and sips of water at each mile as usual and they were serving me well.  I was a bit concerned because Jonathan didn't have any fuel with him and he's never used Powerade so that's not a good idea to try it on the course - yikes.

There's mile four and we're going under the Magic Kingdom sign and past the speed bumps and there's a lady right in the middle with a bullhorn warning everyone about the speed bumps - loud for sure. 
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We're continuing on our way and right as we get to the crowded stretch right before the Contemporary hill I feel something hit my back, but I didn't really pay much attention and then it happened again.  I turned and it was De'Dee  - they had caught up with us.  It was awesome to see her out on the course.  Jonathan handled the hill pretty well, but I can tell it was a bit rough on him.
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I'm feeling pretty good at this point.  I'm a little stiff in the hips and the knees are a little sore, but pretty normal stuff for me.  I'm tuned in to Jonathan and I can tell by his breathing whether I can push the walk a little bit or if I need to ease up.  I'm trying to encourage him, provide tips about random things I've learned while doing races and to just keep him moving.  He's doing the hard part, I'm just there to make sure he keeps doing it.

We pass mile five and we're doing okay with time.  There are still lots of folks behind us and still no sign of the sweepers.  Here comes the fun part - we're heading in to the Magic Kingdom.  The WDW Radio Team is right there at the start of Main Street and they cheer Jonathan on as we pass.  No matter how many races I do, it's still completely amazing to head down Main Street - I love the energy from the spectators and the volunteers and the Cast Members!  We head through Tomorrowland and  Fantasyland.
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No, I didn't see all of these characters, but aren't they fun photos?  I did see the White Rabbit, one of the Tweedles, and the Mad Hatter though.  We're coming up on the castle now and Minnie is out by her self, and the trumpeters are out on the balcony.
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Now we head through the Castle.
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Then it's on to Frontierland.
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After Frontierland we are headed backstage.  I always love going by the train and there's a female engineer out in front of the train - now that's cool and not something I've seen very often! 

We are now by mile six.  This is a fabulous thing.  That means we passed the point that Jonathan was picked up in January.  He's maintaining the run at each mile marker and this helps keep a good buffer of time.  After we exit the backstage area De'Dee passes us once again - apparently there was a bio break in there somewhere!

Over half way there.  Mile seven goes by and we're in that cramped and crowded area by the Grand Floridian.
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How cool were Belle, Beast and Gaston?  I loved that it was the three of them.
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Golfer Goofy all by himself.  Oh my, they had the Wedding Singer out today and I couldn't resist having a little fun with him singing Love and Marriage on the way by - I haven't seen him since the 2010 WDW Half and I won't be too sad if I have to wait another couple of years :).

We're past the Grand Floridian, then the Polynesian.  I'm noticing that I'm having to push Jonathan a bit more in the walk sections as he's slowing a bit and I am sure no fuel has something to do with that.  Here comes the Speedway and Pocahontas is all by herself.
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Mile eight and we're still going.  Jonathan grabs a gel - yeah!  I can tell that Jonathan is really starting to tire out and my pushing is annoying him more and more.  There's a little more snap and a little less laugh in his responses.  I'm perfectly okay with this, I warned him it would happen and I'm prepared for it.

The mile nine marker and we still get a short run in, the run segments are getting shorter, but I'm so proud of Jonathan for continuing to do them.  We trudge along World Drive and I try to keep any eye on the folks behind us and for the sweepers - still no sight of them.
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I'm feeling pretty good still - I'm having just a little trouble doing the slower run segments, but I want Jonathan to keep setting that pace and keeping comfortable so I can manage whatever pace he sets.  Mile nine is gone and here comes the mile 10 marker - yes, we've hit double digits.

Mile 10 is another milestone as this is where Jonathan got picked up in January 2010.  It also means that we only have a 5K to go.  I remind Jonathan that he can do a 5K any time, any day, any where - I believe he said yeah, but can I do four in a row?  Of course you can!  Jonathan is going on will power now - I know his feet hurt and there are hot spots, he's having to stretch the side out a little more here and there and I have to keep him moving a little quicker as I can.  This is where it gets tougher for me.  At this point I have energy to spare - in my normal plan this is where I would be doing more running.  It's also where I get annoyingly happy because I know the end is really coming.  So, I have to balance my desire to get going and his need for me to just keep him moving.

The on ramp, clover leaf, banked horrible area is here and it's begun to rain on us.  Not terrible rain, just enough to get you wet and it sort of feels good at this point, but I do hope it doesn't become a downpour.  I suppose I should mention that it's perfect race weather.  There's been a slight breeze, it's cool but not cold, totally cloudy and not that humid.  I couldn't have asked for better weather for the day as I know it's helping in our success.  If the sun would have been blaring down on us it would have been much more uncomfortable.

In addition to perfect weather, the other racers are amazing as well.  We've had some great conversations with some really nice ladies on the course.  There are inspirational shirts and great costumes on the course today.

As we reach the top of the on ramp Jonathan needs a quick stop to adjust the shoelaces and thankfully it was a quick stop.  We are on the overpass now and it is comforting to see a large number of runners behind us - that means we're still okay on time.  This is important because I know our pace has slowed, but there are still no sweeper sightings.
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Here comes mile 11 - we're doing this.  I am so proud of Jonathan already, but he does another nice run segment, it's shorter but still happening.  As we finish that run segment I have to apologize because I realized that we were doing my pace not his - oops!  One last stinky hill and we're getting ready to head in to the Epcot parking lot.
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Right before we head in to Epcot the WDW Radio Team is there and the cheers for Jonathan are astounding.  I know that this was a huge boost for him.  We pass mile 12.  I keep urging Jonathan on, he is so ready to be done, but he's still going.  Here's Future World.
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No, the Fairy Godmother was not out, there was some very loud and annoying lady in a pink ball gown and tiara out there - no idea who she was. If you know who she was, please leave me a comment.
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We head back around towards Spaceship Earth and thankfully we still see quite a few people behind us.  I keep pushing Jonathan to stay next to me, not behind me.  We're heading backstage and we're so close now.  The Gospel Choir is out - I thought they were awesome and amazing, so friendly and excited to be there.

We head out and around the corner and there's the 13 mile marker.  I tell Jonathan to give me all he's got and we run.  We get close to the finish line and he takes off.  I was stuck behind someone, but it doesn't matter because he's done it and I'm done too!  We were slower that I wanted us to be at 3:43 (17:07 per mi) but he did it!
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Right after the finish line Jonathan stopped and I can see he's having trouble breathing, but I make him start moving.  We continue forward and get our medals.  It's definitely emotional.  I didn't believe Jonathan came in to this race believing he could finish and I asked him as much.  He just shook his head no.  I told him that I knew he could do it and I knew he didn't believe it and that's why I helped him.  I also told him his Dad was watching and proud of him and that he has a wife and daughter at home that are so proud of him.  I truly hope this is a turning point for him and he realizes that you can do anything if you believe you can (and yeah, suffer a little bit for what you want).  Don't get me wrong - Jonathan did all the hard work, I was just there to make sure he did that work.  I am super proud of him for this finish because I know he more than earned it and I'm impressed!

Once we got past the emotions we headed  through and got Powerade and water.  It's raining again.  We stopped to get our finisher photos.
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We went through to get our snack boxes, bananas, Toy Story gummies and Luna Bars if you wanted.  Then we walked toward Epcot and the monorail station.  We stopped at some benches so Jonathan could make a phone call home and I could return some texts.  As we are there I watch the very last walker come through.  It's an amazing procession.  There's the walker, the balloon carrier, bike medics, and people in a golf cart.  There was a crew of about a dozen people waiting to start taking down the barriers and as she came through all of them cheered her on.  I'm totally moved by this scene and actually tear up - yeah, I get more emotional for other people than myself :).  I just really want to know her story.

Once we're done with our phone calls and such we continue on through bag check and over to the monorail station.  We say our goodbyes - Jonathan heads up the monorail ramp and I head back out towards the buses.

3 comments:

Rae! said...

Again you so inspire me. I am so proud of you. It takes a lot to do what you did. I am soooo proud of Jonathan.
That day will come and I will need your help. :)

Richard said...

That is such an awesome and moving story of this day. I'm happy and impressed by you both.
Amanda, you tell me about admiring my mental strength and discipline, but you've got a bunch of both for yourself, as you displayed on htis day. It's one thing to get yourself across the finish line, it's even more difficult to get someone else across that finish line. Great job!

Leanne T said...

Great job! I don't know Jonathan, but I was very happy for him!

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