This race was not my finest 3 hours. I wasn't in it mentally. My body didn't cooperate physically. And really? I was just going through the motions. At the end of the day though, no matter how hard you push yourself, you get the same medal. Sometimes just finishing is the goal, and that's where I was on Sunday.
So here's the deal: Last week I was dealing with an annoying illness and was hoping it would go away without medical intervention. And then I ended up at the doctor on Thanksgiving afternoon. When I left the doctor, I had an antibiotic and a painkiller and was (for about the zillionth time that day) choking back tears. I didn't ask the doctor whether I should run on Sunday, because there was NO WAY I'd be skipping the race and I prefer to do stupid things without my actions actually being against the doctor's orders.
I was actually starting to feel moderately better by Saturday when I left for Cocoa. They moved the expo this year to the Radisson, and while I missed all the cool Kennedy Space Center photo ops I was much happier with the layout and the crowds. Plus, they DID have fun photo backdrops set up in a hallway.
|Out-of-this-world photo opportunities!|
Cue the 3am wake-up alarm!
The morning was pretty uneventful. I got the early shuttle from the hotel and saw Kelli from work before meeting up with Jackie and Rebecca for even more cheesey photo ops. I had trouble eating the full 2 packets of oatmeal that I generally eat pre-race due to some weird heartburn-nausea thing, but ate what I could and listened to my body. Pretty much as soon as the race started, I realized that going more than a week without lacing up my shoes was a mistake. Of all the random twinges I've ever had, this is definitely the first time my calves were tight at the start of a race. I was really worried this was going to turn into bad muscle cramps at some point, but eventually the tightness went away.
June passed me around mile 3 or 4, and she was pretty nearby at least until mile 10. She was cheering on other runners, which caused Jackie to make fun of her, but I think we were all considering it in good fun. I was excited to be able to snap a selfie with her, since this was the first run we actually saw each other. I'm pretty sure we both did Princess this year, but don't quote me on that.
Something crazy and awesome also happened at this race that never happened to me before. I had my own pace group for about 3 miles! When we run together, Jackie follows my intervals. When the beeps happen in my ear, I say "...and walk" or "...and run." Somehow this actually works for us. Well, this time a group of 4 other girls decided that rather than leap-frogging us they would just stick with our intervals. I tried to take a group photo, but my phone froze and didn't actually take the picture. But trust me, it really did happen! Sadly, I couldn't keep up with my group and I sent them on ahead.
The reason I couldn't keep up? Aside from my lack of stamina, which I'm used to soldiering through for the last 5k of a race, I had a problem I've never had before: I had to poop. Truth be told, I realized about mile 2 that there was a chance I would need to stop and break my own "no port-a-potty on the course" rule. I saw a pair of potties just past the turnaround before mile 7 with only one person in line, but just didn't want to stop. And so, those last two miles, every time I ran, I was acutely aware of the contents of my entire digestive system bouncing along. It wasn't an emergency, but had I seen another place to stop, I probably would have.
After the finish, I got my medal and towel, had some pizza, coke, orange juice, and then bid farewell to my friends. I broke my other port-a-potty rule - don't use them after a race - and then headed over to wait for the shuttle back to my hotel. In my haste, I totally failed to get good post-race pictures. The one to the right was taken outside my hotel room an hour later.
It turns out the race organizers really need a lesson in logistics from Disney. They were running shuttles to four different zones, which makes a lot of sense, but each bus was pre-determined for a specific zone. I was in zone B, which seemed to be in the Bermuda Triangle. I'm not sure how long I waited before I finally got onto a bus, but I'm guessing it was about an hour. During that time, I saw at least 6 A buses and a handful of C buses, plus maybe 1 or 2 D buses. Ours were trapped in terrible traffic on the causeway, and the one B bus that appeared while I was waiting was swarmed by people who hadn't been waiting half as long as I had. (you know that scene in Father of the Bride where the dinner line forms and Steve Martin says, "I'd never seen a line form so quickly"? yeah, it was like that.) By the time I got on a bus, there were at least a whole bus full of people still waiting in line behind me. We couldn't understand why they couldn't re-route an A bus, and were growing more and more frustrated. For the last contact I had with the race, sucking diesel fumes in the late morning sun wasn't really what I'd hoped.
Still, I really do like this race. It's my most expensive non-Disney race, but the medal this year was even sparklier than last year's and I love that it's a star. The shirt is also better this year -- it's black and not sheer like last year's, and has weird inset panels in the sides with space shuttles on them. My other disappointment last year, the overcast skies, also cleared this year. We had a beautiful sunrise over the water that quickly made me wish I hadn't forgotten my visor at home!
So how'd I do? Despite my assorted issues, I still beat last year's time (but only by about a minute).
Chip Time: 3:09:06
Overall Place: 2464/3296
Division Place: 255/362
Mile Splits (per RunKeeper):
mile 1: 13:17 min/mi
mile 2: 13:39 min/mi
mile 3: 13:12 min/mi
mile 4: 13:23 min/mi
mile 5: 13:59 min/mi
mile 6: 13:51 min/mi
mile 7: 13:58 min/mi
mile 8: 14:04 min/mi
mile 9: 14:31 min/mi
mile 10: 13:51 min/mi
mile 11: 13:50 min/mi
mile 12: 14:14 min/mi
mile 13: 15:57 min/mi
...and for those of you following along at home wondering what's up with my toe-crushing shoes, they are now officially reserved for runs 10K and shorter. Womp womp! I was able to find a pair of my original "blue man shoes" on ebay -- floor samples from a running store -- and won them for $46 including shipping. They're not scheduled to get here until next Monday, which means I'm most likely going to have to wear an old pair for the Divas Half on Sunday. That means blisters and shin splints, but my feet are still angry with me about last weekend so I definitely won't be wearing those again.