On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I hate myself. DISNEY HALF MARATHON RECAP.

When I last blogged, I was headed off to Florida and annoyed that I had been cast off into the last corral at Disney. I was kind of dreading the race itself, feeling underprepared and angry with myself for my lack of preparation. Plus, you know, I'm kind of a childless adult, I'm not a princess (nor do I want to be), I don't run in a costume like ever ever ever, and it was supposed to be hot in Florida for the weekend.


HOES BEFORE BROS
CAREERS BEFORE FANTASIES

But still, I told myself, maintain a good attitude, Tracy. Buck up. You can do this; you're prepared for a half and you'll finish the half.

I flew in Friday morning and my weekend was off to an inauspicious start when I threw up, twice, in the bathroom at LaGuardia (NB: the handicapped stalls in Terminal C actually aren't that bad). Luckily, I slept it hard on the airplane and felt better once I got off the plane and into my SuperShuttle. Tired, yes. Filthy and unshowered, yes. Ready to roll through the expo for my bib and then nap it hard before my friend Emily arrived in the evening, yes.

On the shuttle to the expo, I was chugging Gatorade and making small talk with other runners, one of whom was another New Yorker who was doing Goofy - and who didn't mind my dehydrated rants about how "running" a 6-hour marathon wasn't a "real" effort. I'm an ass when I'm hungover. (But to be fair to me, I made sure to mention that I knew from experience. So then it's less offensive, right?) Mike and I hung out at the expo for a bit and agreed to try to meet up the next morning to run together.

NB: By Friday afternoon, the chaotic mess of an expo was stone cold out of Goofy gear (down to a lone water bottle and a sticker) and almost out of marathon gear. And also: I presented the results from a 15k (9:36 pace) and got moved up to Corral B. The second corral. Because running a sub-10 minute mile makes you nearly sub-elite at a Disney race?

Anyway, 3:30am Saturday morning rolled around way too soon, and I headed to the race start. To get runners into and out of the parks without disrupting park hours, Disney races start mad early. (And their starts are staggered, so had I stayed in Corral H, I would have started nearly an hour after the posted start of the race - but still needed to be in the corral by 5.) They also mean business about it being a long walk from the parking lot to the race start. Fortunately I had left myself enough time, and even better, I was able to meet up with Angela before the start. We'd never met before, but she recently had crazy and intensive leg surgery so I knew she'd be just my speed.

This woman's race was over before it began.
Medics were en route. This was in the parking lot.
The race itself... was kind of awesome.

I hate myself for admitting that. I really wanted to be able to come back and say, "Well, I did it, and it was stupid." I wanted to say that Disney races, like RnR races, aren't actual races but instead are events and I wanted to stay on my stupid purist soapbox and look down on people who enjoy them.

Instead, I had an awesome time.

I mean, they are events, and my soapbox is intact, and I paid waythehell too much to run a half marathon. But I liked it.

I took pictures with characters, sort of:

I got excited when I saw the castle and Epcot:


And I ran with Mike and Angela for the whole race:

After the race, I made like any good blogger and ate nut butter on a banana. Full disclosure? I'm actually the world's worst blogger. I forgot to pack Nuun, nut butter, and my Garmin. So I can't even post a photo of my mile splits!


Better yet, I spent the whole next day with Emily at Magic Kingdom acting like a 5 year old and loving every minute of it.
This is why I actually did the race.
Have I changed my mind on Disney races? Not really. They are what they are: super duper expensive running parties. Given that they sell out quickly, there's no incentive for Disney to up the perks (like, say, a discounted park admission?). Since I ran the Disney Marathon in 2004, the field has expanded substantially and the race has slowed down even more. Costumes were an anomaly back then; this year, I felt like a (happy) minority without one. In 2004, it was easy to stop for photos; this year, lines to wait for pictures could run 20-30 runners deep. If that's your thing.

And now, with that out of my system, back to acting like the dignified 30-something year old woman that I am.

18 comments:

  1. "dignified 30-something year old woman". Love it!

    I like this post on Disney because you aren't one of those "omg i love disney so much lolololol" and yet you admit it was fun. My sister and I (who just did RNR Arizona, which is pretty ridiculous too) were discussing the Disney race obsession and how strange it is to us, childless women who do not think we are special princesses...but it sounds like you had fun anyway, which is awesome, considering how much you were complaining about it ahead of time. :)

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    1. Hahaha, what, me, complain? Yeah, maybe, a little...

      I had very low expectations about it, you're right, and I was kind of stupefied that I had such a good time. No, to be fair, I had HIGH expectations that I would hate it, and a lot of resentment over how much money I spent in registering/traveling. It probably would have been different had I not found some people to run with and had I not had a willing, Disney-loving friend with. But ultimately, I still don't really "get" the phenomenon that is Disney races.

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  2. +1 to what Hannah said. When I saw in your twitter feed you were headed down there, I couldn't reconcile your general eschewing of all things twee/princessy-running with the decision to hop on a plane to Orlando to get up at 2:30AM and run a race with character photos. But now it makes sense. Nice recap. And also? I absolutely adore you for posting that Sesame Street clip. I had never seen it and now I want every child I know to watch it.

    And btw, to your 6 hour marathoner comment, I have a blog for you to read...

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    1. I can only assume the blog you would recommend is my own. (Hangs head in shame.)

      Sonia Sotomayor is my hero after that Sesame Street clip.

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    2. no! Running With Sass. your head will explode.

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    3. Oh. Em. Gee. I recently discovered her blog thanks to GOMI and my head did just about explode. I mean REALLY. Amazing.

      I might be a sucky runner, but I know it.

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    4. I have so much to say but this is probably not the right place for it :)

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  3. In other news (and at the risk of monopolizing your blog here) I was reading the twitter of someone who ran the Disney World and Disney Land races (is it coast to coast or something?) and apparently it is quite common for people to be walking around the parks wearing ALL THREE MEDALS from the goofy challenge. This was days after the race. WAT

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    1. I had a really long reply about people wearing their half marathon and 5k medals several days later, but then my internet connection went out and the comment was deleted with it. Which is probably for the best. It wasn't a very nice comment.

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    2. I would love to hear it, haha. So I guess you saw this a lot too.
      I feel guilty wearing the medal on the walk back to my hotel.

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    3. This is a hard one for me, because I really want to be nice but I also don't race for medals. (And when I get them, with one exception of which I am endlessly proud when I took 2nd place in my age group at a super small 5k, they're *participation* medals. Sort of like the "second place" ribbon I got for the science fair in middle school, which everyone knew was given to EVERYONE who entered a project but didn't win.) My rules are: I can wear the thing as long as I'm still in my dirty running clothes. What I don't get is the fact that some people would wear them home, shower, put them back on with clean clothes, then the next morning (presumably) shower again and put the medal BACK on for the second and third day. Especially with a 5k medal. Even just from a logistical pov, those Disney medals have a heft to them!! It seems like every time I say something like this, someone jumps all over me about what an accomplishment it is to run a 5k/half marathon/full marathon. Yep, it can be, depending on where you're at in your "running journey." But I hate how people are racing for medals these days... I wish races would do cool stuff like give out hats or useable items. I have some pint glasses from races and I use those bitches every damn day.

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  4. I loved this post. It got me psyched up for my return to the scene of the 2004 crime...I'm going to celebrate turning 40 with this race in Jan 2015. Because by then, I will no longer be a dignified 30-something year old woman. I hope you'll join me!

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  5. Hahaha, LOVE this! Now I want to run Disney too!! But that means actually being in the US during January...

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  6. You crack me up. I love seeing this recap even though I am bitter and jealous that I had to drop the race. Stupid boob. ANYWAYS, I'm glad you went and had fun and glad you didn't get more sick. Ugh!

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  7. Weeeee! Giant turkey leg! That 3:30 a.m. wake up call is reason enough for me to never do a Disney race. I prefer to fall out of bed 45 minutes before the gun, park and be at the starting line in 10. Corral B though? Would be the tits.

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  8. Do you think those Frontierland turkey legs were ever attached to real turkeys, or are they the product of a Star Trek-style food replicator?

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    1. Emily and I talked about this at length, and our conclusion is that Disney owns a turkey farm somewhere on its property and that they sell the remainder of the turkey body to Russia for cheap.

      I didn't post the picture of me with the equally delicious pork shank. I could go for some pork shank right now.

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