Monday, January 21, 2008

Goofy Challenge: Full Marathon

This is Part III of the award winning recap of the Goofy Challenge.

Sunday, January 13th, 2008. Mickey's Marathon.

Strap in. This is a long one.

I should first mention, for those Goofy Challenge aspirants, that your orange wrist band gets clipped off and replaced with a blue wrist band at the finish line of the half marathon. In turn, you need to complete the full marathon with this wrist band intact to demonstrate you have completed the challenge.

So, the half marathon is complete. It went well. I feel good. I felt like I followed a good plan. We spent the rest of Saturday doing some things at Animal Kingdom and then went back to the hotel for some swimming and relaxing. Storm clouds rolled in and an otherwise nice evening turned into a downpour. I hoped this wasn't in the forecast for tomorrow morning.

Saturday night, I'm exhausted. The lack of sleep before the half marathon has caught up to me. This time, at lights out, I fall right asleep.

3 A.M. the alarm goes again. I have no problems jumping out of bed. I'm ready to get this thing over with and celebrate the accomplishment. Since it worked yesterday, I went with the exact same plan: banana nut muffin, banana, water, and taking an orange and PowerBar to the start gates.

At the bus by 4 A.M.. At Epcot again by 4:20. Again, watching the same rock band on the same stage. The crowds look noticeably large today though I believe there are the same number of participants for both races?? It's like an episode of Ground Hog day. I've now lived the same morning twice.

On the way to the starting corrals, I strike up a conversation with a triathlete from New Hampshire. He's looking to break 4 hours today. He gives me advice on a book to buy to improve swimming skills in case I ever decide to do a tri. I'll tuck that info away. That's not on my horizon right now day?

Corral A is located in a different spot outside of Epcot this time. They have a two wave start where the two paths reconnect just past Epcot with each taking a slightly different first 3 miles.

It's a little warmer this morning. Only 65-70 degrees by thermostat but the air is definitely thicker and warmer and laying on the shoulders a bit. No rain. I'll need to hydrate well today.

Anthem. More Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto chatter. We're Off!

The starting blast!

This time we go straight into Epcot and around the World Showcase. Pretty cool. It's still dark outside but the lights are on, music is blasting away. Hard to keep the emotions in check and mind your pace.

Outside of Epcot, it's the familiar road up to Magic Kingdom repeating yesterday's run. This time we get there around mile 10. I followed a consistent pace up to here. I've been alternating water and PowerAde at every aid station. My legs feel strong. I know the second half of this race is the place to expect trouble but, so far, I very pleased with how it is going.

Inside Magic Kingdom, I stop a few times and take a couple of pictures. The crowd is stronger than yesterday and the whole race feels more vibrant for some reason.

We leave Magic Kingdom just as the sun is rising. I can feel the air get a bit warmer but I'm nearing the half way point and feeling confident.

It was a bit of a trudge from here. The half maker has passed. I crossed just around 1:42. If I can knock out a 1:48 second half, I can hit 3:30! Unofficially, 3:40 was my goal for this race. I was anticipating some fatigue issues and time spent taking pictures when targeting that number.

The road to Animal Kingdom is long, winding and definitely not mainstream. There was no traffic. An aid station would pop up out of nowhere and then nothing again.

We enter Animal Kingdom at mile 16. This was a key spot, mentally, for me. I was really pointing to this mile marker. I felt like if I could just make it to mile 16 without taking any breaks, I could pull back a little over the last 10 miles and just enjoy the trip home.

Through Animal Kingdom and out. Just before mile 18, we wrapped around to the main ticket gate. It was fun to run past the folks heading into the parks. They were half cheering and half wondering what these runners were doing!

At mile 18, I take a walking break just past the aid station and enjoy some water and chat with another runner. I definitely feel fatigued at this point. I know I can't keep the pace I had up until then. I'm sweating profusely but I have not missed a single aid station or a GU interval. At this point, I feel like all systems - while fatigued - are a go. I wish the other runner well and resume the run.

In the starting corral, I had spoken to a fellow who had completed Goofy's Challenge last year and he warned me that the distance from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood (formerly MGM) Studios is the most difficult section. It's getting late in the race. You're tired and there is a one mile down and back turnaround spot that will get to you mentally.

Here it comes. And here comes some problems. Mile 19, I feel a tug in my left calve. This is what happened in Chicago in October when my leg cramps started. I immediately pull back my pace. An aid station - with BANANAS - a few feet ahead! Banana. PowerAde. Fingers crossed!! Seven miles to go. I'm going over a slight hill (overpass) and the increased strain is causing the leg cramps to flare up.

Knots. Strains. Arghhhhh! I'm now walking just before mile 20. I'm slow walking in fact. I can't even manage the fast walk pace I was able to do in Chicago. This is not good. A medical tent dead ahead. I'm not going to tough it out this time. I need some medical advice.

I stop in to the tent at about 20 1/4 miles disappointed as I could possibly be. I can not believe I am cramping out AGAIN! I'm provided Tylenol. Two cups of PowerAde. My calves are rubbed down with Biocool. This would begin my love affair with this product. I had never heard of it before. It's a cooling agent that leaves your legs numb and tingling. Think Icy Hot - but stronger.

I stagger on with a shuffling run. Just get me to the finish. I'm in the heart of the down and back portion I was warned about. In fact, there goes the guy who told me about it passing me. He doesn't see me but I can only shake my head when I see him pass by on the trot.

Disaster. Just before mile 21, I stop for water and my right hamstring completely locks up on me. This is now worse than Chicago, which was concentrated only in the calves. I take several minutes standing behind the water tables trying to work it out. Can I make it to the next medical tent? Should I go back to the other one??

I'll walk on. Rounding the bend past mile 21, I see the next medical tent but it's still a half mile away. On the walk, the Biocool on my calves is wearing off and they are starting to cramp up again. While stretching my calve, my shin muscle cramps up. Really, the nuts, bolts, springs, and coils are blowing apart at this point. At least, that's what I feel like.

I make it to the next medical tent. This time, I slathered both my legs up and down from top to bottom with Biocool. It helps. I'm walking now at a decent clip. The funny thing is that, I can feel a muscle cramp developing in any tiny little area where I might have missed with the Biocool.

I still have my fingers stained with the stuff. So, I apply as needed as I walk on to whatever area needs it.

Heading into Hollywood Studios, I dare to run again. Hey, I can do it. No cramps. I can't feel my legs now to the numbing agent but okay by my.

Leaving Hollywood Studios.

I even manage to get up to around a 9 minute mile pace. The Biocool starts wearing off after a time and I can feel the tugging cramps starting back up.

It becomes a point to point race to each medical tent and the magical elixir of life: Biocool.

I stop at every aid station for PowerAde. I stop at every medical tent for a complete hose down of Biocool.

Hollywood Studios passes, the Boardwalk passes, into Epcot. I can make it on the run now!

Through Epcot and out.


I made it. Again, not exactly how I envisioned it going but I MADE IT.

My goofballs.

It amuses me to review my mile by mile breakdown (literally) according to Garmin. I quick perusal shows the "problem" areas:

Mile 1 7:54
Mile 2 7:35
Mile 3 7:36
Mile 4 7:50
Mile 5 7:26
Mile 6 7:33
Mile 7 7:30
Mile 8 7:41
Mile 9 7:30
Mile 10 7:44

Mile 11 8:02
Mile 12 7:34
Mile 13 7:49
Mile 14 7:42
Mile 15 7:51
Mile 16 7:47
Mile 17 7:56
Mile 18 8:11
Mile 19 8:37
Mile 20 9:38
Mile 21 13:46
Mile 22 22:47
Mile 23 18:28
Mile 24 11:53
Mile 25 9:59
Mile 26 9:22

Hmmm, anyone see a problem?

I was happy to be able to resume a run though and not have to walk to the finish like in Chicago. I estimate I walked 3 miles of this race before running the last 3 again.

I received my new, redesigned Mickey medal. Checked in at the Goofy Challenge tent and got my Goofy medal to complete the trifecta. Cool!

The trifecta!

Numbers? Yes, numbers:

Chip time: 4:08:44
Pace: 9:29/mile

Overall place: 1694 of 12,964 finishers
Age group place: 277 of 1368

Unofficial Goofy Challenge results:

Chip times: 5:47:58
Pace: 8:51/mile

Overall place: 214 of 2715 challengers.

Enjoyed your race, Goofy!

The rest of the day was spent staggering around Epcot with the family unshowered and tight. To top it off, the Spaceship Earth attraction (in the giant golf ball) broke down and we head to walk the stairs down to the exit. That was fun.

Official full marathon photos from ASI photography.

Next post: A wrap up of my thoughts on the experience. Final comment on the Goofy Challenge.


L*I*S*A said...

Great job. I do think the name "Goofy Challenge" is appropriate, though. :)

Russ said...

No matter your time, that is can now check that off your list and focus on kicking arse in Boston.

Mir said...

Wow, that post had me wincing, but I also had to laugh at "Biocool: the Elixir of Life." Good job gutting that one out!

nwgdc said...

A couple points:
I think you mean "Biofreeze." I will never forget that name after it saved me countless times...just don't get it in your eyes!

Visualizing the wheels, nuts, bolts, and COILS coming off (boiiiing) was my favorite line of the entire recap.

Congrats on a job well done. I often think that I want to do a 50- or 100-miler, but the marathon distance is one owed much respect. To cover it AFTER a half marathon is amazing!

Do you know of any other events such as this one, where you have the option to do a half and then a full? I have GOT to try it!

Congrats again--frame those medals and look at the daily!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

OH my. I'm so sorry you had the cramp situation again. Frankly you scare the crap out of me when I read this. If this happens to you, holy cow... I'm so glad you sought and found the medical attention you needed. Great job getting it done. Hope you are recovering well.

Amy@RunnersLounge said...

Wow, wow, wow -- I will admit that I took to speed reading to jump ahead and make sure you were going to finish. I have never heard of that product - but will check it out.

I haven't done Goofy, but did the marathon and I remember the stretch from is a low point for motivation.

Way to go!

aham23 said...

impressive work. and to top it all off you got your picture with goofy. it just doesnt get any better.

Trevor Oseen said...

Thanks for the details. My batteries are charged and ready to head into next weekend with renew vigor.

Good luck on your future endeavors.