See part 1 here.
Finally, 22 minutes after the first corral gun went off, it was our turn. I was strangely calm and excited when our fireworks went off. Our strategy was to run for the first 3 minutes until we got out of traffic, then take up our planned 1:30/1:00 intervals, with hopes to finish in 3:15. I don’t remember much about the first mile except losing the arm warmers in the first 10 minutes. It was cool for Orlando, but still pretty humid. I train in south Alabama, I know humidity, so why does it affect my running so much??
We turned onto Osceola Parkway and by mile 3 I was ready to take my clothes off. I really started to hit the wall very early. In mile 4 I did what I thought would never happen: I hit up the on-course portalet. Add 5+ minutes to our time there. The added time really beat me down, and we started running a 1/1 interval, but we were running through the Animal Kingdom, which was awesome. Then we ran on a very narrow ring road around the Animal Kingdom parking lot that went on forever and ever. But I was kinda pulling it together at this point and was ready to go.
Around mile 6 I felt like the tongue of my right shoe had moved and I fiddled with it, but felt it again a few minutes later. We stopped and I looked down, but nothing seemed wrong. So off we went, back onto the long boring Osceola Parkway (note to runDisney: You did a great job beefing up the course entertainment for the Tower of Terror 10-miler. You should carry that over to the Wine and Dine). We hit the 10K mat, and then mile 7. Nearly half way!
And then it happened. It felt like the toes on my right foot severely cramped. I couldn’t do much to stretch them with my shoes on, but I stopped and tried. We walked for a bit to try to walk out the cramp, and tried to run some, but running was really painful. I asked Mark if he thought I should drop out at the mile 8 Med Tent and he thought I should keep going, but I was going to have to walk as much as possible. He stayed with me the entire way. I decided to try to run some more when we got into Hollywood Studios after mile 9. We spent a lot of time backstage trying to fit 3+ miles into Hollywood Studios. At some point we both said we were just ready to be out of this park!
One thing happened in Hollywood Studios that I really wanted to share. Just before the Osborne Lights, where there were no employees or volunteers, there was a runner with a Team in Training coach shirt and a very low digit bib number. She had stopped and was cheering on every single runner by name or character (“Let’s go, Figment!”). At this point we were pretty close to the back of the pack so she had been there quite a while. This lady had stopped her race to cheer on all those behind her, and it was really touching. If you’re out there Coach, thank you. You are a shining example of the runner’s spirit.
When we made it out of Hollywood Studios I realized that if I really tried, I could finish in under a 16:00 mm pace by my Garmin (which was measuring the course as long), so we started walking faster than I ever thought I could. I ran a couple of more times when we got to EPCOT. Another highlight: finding out Alabama had beat LSU from a bystander. Roll Tide!
We heard our names announced at the finish line, and we were half-marathoners! And our finish time? 3:31:XX. What?? Damn you, portalet break in mile 4! I can’t imagine our time if I’d been able to run. I was really proud of the accomplishment.
We got margaritas at the afterparty before my foot really started to hurt. It didn’t swell until the next day. When we got back into town I went right to the doctor, thinking it was some kind of sprain. Oh no, no. Broken 3rd metatarsal. 6 weeks in a boot. But I finished the race! I’m still petitioning runDisney to award me a special medal.