I did a marathon and didn't die! (Read 1062 times)

Big Chicken!

    Let me start by saying that I swore I would never do a marathon again. The half marathon would be my longest until, at least, my kids were old enough to watch themselves during my long runs. Chris’ job keeps him away often and my long runs take a lot of time. I don’t feel comfortable asking someone to watch my kids for 3 or 4 hours so I can run. And the distance is daunting after a while. Especially when you are as slow as me. I went into the Disney marathon with good intentions: It’s on my 35th birthday, it’s my 8th month of quitting smoking, it seemed a reasonable goal when I began running in May, my DH signed me up without telling me and I wasn't wasting the fee. I had no goal other than to finish, and I made it! It was a long day but I somehow mustered up my strength and did it. We started at 6AM with smiles on our faces, all 15,000+ of us. I began in Corral F, certainly toward the back of the pack. I was in front of the dedicated walkers but behind those with reasonable goal times. Yes, there were walkers ahead of me and some of them were, and are, faster than me. My strategy involved a run/walk plan of 3 min/3 min. It was supposed to be 3/2 but I didn’t have the use of my husband’s Garmin so the old Timex Ironman had to do and it doesn’t allow for different timed intervals. I became thankful for that later. I felt fantastic for quite a while. That should have been a warning! After what seemed like forever, I ran through Epcot, around Spaceship Earth, into World Showcase. We merged with the faster corrals who were on the other start course and I was surprised to find there were still lots of people merging in (Chris explained these were probably people who tried to say they were faster than they really were so they could have a time advantage). A total confidence boost!! We continued on as the sun started to come over the horizon and I could finally see where I was going. Getting to the Magic Kingdom seemed, again, to take forever but when I got there I was so excited. Running through Magic Kingdom is the picture I had in my head every time I would think about the marathon. Running through Cinderella’s Castle was the highlight of Magic Kingdom. I continued on out the back of the park (I love the “dirty” side of Disney) and down a back road that goes by the Grand Floridian and Shades of Green. It was great to hear the people cheering us runners on. This was the point that I made that very realization. Spectators calling your name and encouraging you on really helps carry you for a bit. My half marathon time was decent (for me) and I thought I had a chance at under 6 hours. Silly me! Around Mile 16 is when I started falling apart. My feet were killing me like never before. My legs were fine but my feet…But I kept going because Animal Kingdom was just ahead of me. I was going at a considerably slower pace but I was at least throwing in my running intervals. They were only 2 minutes at this point but I kept the walking to 2 minutes as well to even things out. I made it through AK, even giving a thumbs-up to the photographer and smiling at the spectators calling out my name. I got to the AK parking lot and the sun showed itself. That was tough. It persisted through Mile 20 or 21. At about Mile 19 ½ I came across the overpass near the All-Star Resorts. There I saw my sister with my kids trying to make it across the street to see me. I screamed their names and they somehow heard me. I got to see the kids and blow kisses to them. If they had bee n able to make it over the retaining wall on the hill I would have stopped there and called myself finished. But just their smiling faces, words of love and blown kisses were enough to get me to the icky Mile 20 out-and-back section. The band was playing there as we merged to t he other side of the street. I saw a sea of people coming at me, all flinging cups of water. It seemed congested there at the water stops, as they were nearly directly across the street from each other. I finally made it to the U-Turn and made my way to the entrance ramp. I really felt the incline on my legs running around that curve. Upon seeing the Medical Tent at Mile 22 I thought I could just stop there and be done. That was my true Wall. That was the first sign of tears. That was when the mental preparation was tested. But I knew my husband Chris was just around the corner, waiting to bring me in. “Just get through MGM and if he’s not there I’ll stop.” I knew he’d have to wait at the farthest guest-allowed section so I’d have to push myself for just a bit. But then there he was, smiling, hiding his Top Secret medal under his race bib so I couldn’t see it, ready with open arms for me to cry into. I love him. From that point on I knew I’d definitely make it to the finish. I was walking entirely by that point (actually, the walking-only started just after Mile 21) and it wasn’t brisk. I held Chris’ hand for a bit and his energy kept me going. Soon enough we came across the place I have watched him run by for 3 years on the back side of the Boardwalk Villas (just about Mile 24) and smiled to myself that this year we were walking past that spot together. I wasn’t just watching this year. I was doing it myself. We rounded the curve near the Yacht and Beach Club and I knew Epcot was coming soon. Once we hit the World Showcase at Epcot I had a small urge to run but my feet were threatening to fall off if I did. I somehow made it through the World Showcase without seeing the medal. There were several people who were wearing their hard-earned medals for all to see. But I kept my head down and looked away. I really didn’t want to see it until I had earned my own. We walked on, coming upon the gospel choir. What a wonderful group they were. I cannot remember what they were singing about for the life of me but they sounded fantastic. Then Chris pulled me around the curve and there was the finish line in my sights. I could SEE it! It was really there! Some girl ran past us like we were standing still (which isn’t too far off from being the truth). I kept moving closer to the finish. Then I heard the announcer say my name, asking where I was. I raised my arms and he thanked me for my service to my country. Wrong Kris Carmichael! That’s my husband! But he used my full name so I figured he must have just looked at our address. Then I crossed the finish! Chris let me go by myself and I raised my arms for the picture. I HAD MADE IT!! I finished a marathon! I HAD FORGOTTEN TO LOOK AT THE STINKIN’ TIME CLOCK!!!! Roll eyes I really couldn’t believe I did it! My husband was even mildly surprised. He figured I’d be done at the half. Somehow I managed to muster the strength to pull off a finish. I learned a lot along that 26.2 mile course. I am grateful to Sharpie for placing factoid signs along the course for our amusement. I now know that all of Pulp Fiction’s clocks read 4:20. I know John Madden is an accomplished ballroom dancer. And as one sign said, I have forgotten 80% of what I learned that day because I can’t remember any other sign sayings now. I learned that 26.2 miles is far but not nearly as far as I thought it was. Or maybe I am forgetting some of the miles. That’s probably just as well! I learned that I really want a Garmin 205 and a pair of Race Ready shorts. I learned to bring my camera next time. I learned to be sure to drink more PowerAde and less water. I learned that no matter how hungry I am, I still HATE bananas. I learned that smiling at and thanking the volunteers made me feel better. But most important, I learned that I have more mental strength than I ever thought I possessed. Chris has told me more than once that finishing a marathon is often more about mental toughness than physical strength and training. I proved that to myself on January 13, 2008. I proved that I have the mental fortitude to finish a marathon. I said I wouldn’t do a marathon again, even swore to it while running the marathon. I was wrong. Within 2 days I decided I would most definitely be back next year to beat my time. Of course, that time shouldn’t be hard to beat. 6:43:27 (chip time).
    Kris C Running away from the couch one mile at a time!

    Into the wild

      Well done Kris...I love reading reports like yours: open, honest and inspiring. Enjoy the feeling of accoplishment, you've earned it. What was the trouble with your feet...? Blister of RSI or...?

      Shut up and run

        Very Cool Race Report! Congrats! Great Job!

        "Nothing's better than the wind to your back, the sun in front of you, and your friends beside you." Aaron Douglas Trimble

        Another Passion

          Well done, Kris! Congratulations! You are a MARATHONER! WOOT! Big grin

          "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." - Juma Ikangaa
          "I wanna go fast." Ricky Bobby

          Big Chicken!

            Well done Kris...I love reading reports like yours: open, honest and inspiring. Enjoy the feeling of accoplishment, you've earned it. What was the trouble with your feet...? Blister of RSI or...?
            Feet problem was just pain. No blisters! Just the agony of taking a pounding for so long. As I lose more weight and get faster (2 individual goals) I am sure the pain won't be so severe. Next year will be soooo much different. Thanks all for the congrats! At least I gave myself an easy time to beat! Big grin
            Kris C Running away from the couch one mile at a time!
              Congratulations! Great report, thanks for sharing all the emotions of the day with us. Oh and happy (belated) birthday! Smile
                What a great story. Epic! Congratulations and thanks for sharing. You just made my day. It is gray here and cold, and I was leaning towards bailing on my usual Sunday long run, but after reading your post, I am newly inspired.
                  congratulations - great report. well done on getting through it. marathons are hard!!!

                    Well done for keeping going! Now put your feet up!


                    You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.


                      Big grin Great job! Welcome to the marathon club!! I just completed my first as well. It's the greatest feeling in the world to cross that finish line! I'm looking forward to doing more.
                      Finished my first marathon 1-13-2008 in 6:03:37 at P.F. Chang's in Phoenix. PR in San Antonio RnR 5:45:58!!!!!! on 11-16-08 The only thing that has ever made any difference in my running is running. Goal: Break 2:30 in the HM this year Jay Benson Tri (place in Athena category) 5-10-09

                      Big Chicken!

                        Thanks everyone! I took a week to rest. Not fully planned. Travel days kept me in a car and plane. 2 boys sick as anything kept me inside caring for them, mopping vomit, taking temps, doing what moms do best. I felt guilty not doing anything all week. So now I prep for a 30 minute run/walk this evening. This week is "take it easy" time. Then next week begins 15K training. I have a goal of running the entire distance. I may modify to include a time goal depending on training. That blends into marathon trainng for the '09 Disney full. Thanks for lettnig me share my story. Everyone else is sick of me already. I love reading it over and over! Big grin
                        Kris C Running away from the couch one mile at a time!

                        My dogs are fast, not me

                          Great race report! I felt like I was there with you. Well done!!!




                            That's so inspiring...you had so many opportunities to quit, but you didn't! Disney sounds like a really neat Marathon. Smile

                            '20 Goals:

                            Survive the 'Rona • Cover 4000 miles (3300 on-bike, 700 on-foot) • Duathlon podiums • Keep bustin' ass -1 lung lobe and assorted guts parts • Continue showing Cancer that it's not welcome back. Ever. • Improve power:weight ratio • $1000


                            Getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to

                            remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.    

                                 ~ Sarah Kay

                              Great report! Congrats! Now I want to run it!
                                Great report! Congrats! Now I want to run it!
                                And so the addiction is passed on once again... Not dying in a marathon is a most excellent goal, congrats Kris!

                                Greater Lowell Road Runners
                                Cry havoc and let slip the dawgs of war!

                                May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your SPF30, may the rains fall soft upon your sweat-wicking hat, and until you hit the finish line may The Flying Spaghetti Monster hold you in the hollow of His Noodly Appendage.