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Disney Race Report (as usual, very long)

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Post  healdgator on Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:33 pm

Training had gone about as well as possible. 3 20
milers with each getting progressively better/easier. No injuries of
note. I wasn't overtrained. Everything was set. The only
really important goal was to break 4 hours. After the meltdown in
Cincinnati and the time and effort that goes into training for a marathon, it
would all be wasted if I didn't accomplish that goal.

Pre Race

On friday, I woke up with a back problem from sleeping funny I guess.
It was no big deal at the time, but it got worse on saturday. I had to
stop during my 2 mile jog due to the back issue, so I was officially very
concerned. By saturday night, I also had a massive headache. I took
2 peragesic for my back, rubbed on some aspercreme, and took an aleve for my
headache (clearly, I 'm not concerned about taking NSAIDs before a
marathon). As it turned out, that all worked b/c I had no back or head
problems during the race.

I had 2 rooms at the Port Orleans pretty much across the street from the race
start. Originally, one reservation was at the Riverside and one was at
the French Quarter, but I was able to switch the Riverside reservation to
French Quarter last week and get guaranteed connecting rooms. This would
have been perfect, but we ended up with adjoining but not connecting
rooms. That was an annoyance given that we have a 4 year old and a 6 year
old, but no big deal. It's not like I reserved them that way
anyway. BTW, if you ever run Disney - stay at Port Orleans French
Quarter. I searched the internet high and low for some clarity as to
whether you could walk to the starting line. Of course, everything Disney
says is that you cannot. You must show up at the Epcot parking lot (using
Disney transportation) and then walk the 20 minutes to the starting line.
Even private message boards were contradictory. Some people posted that
it was easy, others said it was dangerous and you could be sent back to your
hotel. I had decided to walk and asked a few other runners the night
before what they planned to do - they all said anything other than walking
would be silly. So, I woke up at 3:30 ate a bagel and a half, got out of
bed at 4 and walked out the door at 4:20 AM. I immediately met up with a
group of about 20 other runners to walk and we were at the starting area by
4:35. Perfect. I promptly went to the port o potties and began the
repeat cycle of attempting to use the bathroom, leaving to immediately get back
in line. After 4 of these cycles, I headed to the starting line at
5:25.

Based on my half marathon time from nearly 2 years ago, I was slotted for
corral A. That was a stretch and I didn't want to start out fast, so I
settled into the front of Corral B probably 3 minutes before the wheelchair
start. Again, perfect timing.

The low was forecasted as 55 degrees, but I would bet it was 50 when I left the
hotel. I had a long sleeve throw away t shirt and my gloves.
Weather at this point could not have been better. Again, perfect.

Race Plan

I was target high 3:40s with the only real goal to be a sub 4 hour time.
My plan was 88-90 for the first ten, 86-88 for the 2nd ten depending on feel
then power through the last 6. Best case scenario would be that I was
feeling strong at 2:54 through 20 miles with a real shot at the high
3:40s. Worst case, I still have a solid buffer for 4:00:00.

The Race

I set a good pace in the low 9s for the first few miles. I was
intentionally dialing it back, but not too much. I wasn't concerned, but
I did think I would naturally be running in the 8:30s and have to slow myself
down a lot. That wasn't really the case, but I also knew that it usually
takes me 5 or 6 miles to get going anyway. I also knew I would be
stopping at some point pretty early to use the bathroom (I have no chance at
clearing out before a 5:30 start. None.) so everything was fine.
Weather was still perfect. I still have my long sleeve shirt and gloves
on. Still conserving some energy and not doing much weaving.

After the 6 mile mark, I was at the point where I need to go to the bathroom,
so I stopped at the next port o potty. No TP. I'm no idiot, so I
was well prepared for that. I was timing my stop and was disappointed to
find that I lost 3 minutes using the bathroom. I was now concerned.
Every mile had been over 9:00 so I had slipped a minute there and lost these 3
minutes as well, all in the first 6+ miles. Doing the math, I knew that
9:00 pace the rest of the way would put me right at 4 hours, so I had
time. However, I really had to fight with myself not to try to make it
all back up in a couple of miles.

At that point, though, I really started to find a rhythm. I felt really
strong for the next 15 miles. Every mile from 8-22 was sub-9. At
one point, I knocked out a mile in 8:32 and had to dial it back some, but
otherwise everything was going great. I was taking in water (slowing to
walk to make sure I drank most or all of it) at every stop, S-caps at 6, 11,
17, and 21 miles, a gu gel at 7, 14, and 22, and even a little powerade a
couple of times. [An aside, it's this crap that pisses me off about
Disney. They charge a fortune for a well organized race but all you get
out of it is a T-shirt and a very nice medal. No bag, no other real
goodies. No effort to help spectators. And powerade. Nobody
drinks powerade. It's shit. You are making plenty of $$$ off this
race. At least give us gatorade.]

As you will see from my splits, I ran the first 10 in 94 minutes - 4 minutes
behind schedule. However, it was only 91 minutes running time, so I was
pretty good there. I didn't overdo it trying to get back the 3 minutes I
lost. The next five was in 43:30. Right on schedule. That
included the 8:32 mile that was too quick, but all in all I was right back on
schedule and banking some time against 4 hours. Perfect.

The next 5 was similar. 43:45, banking more time against 4 hours, still
feeling pretty strong. I should note a couple of things here. By
this point, my GPS mile markers were more than .1 mile off from the official
mile markers. That's too be expected, but in hindsight, my buffer against
4 hours wasn't as big as I thought at the time. A little quick math
indicates that each mile probably took 2-3 seconds longer than the watch
time. Over the course of 26 miles, that's a whole minute. Also, at
about mile 16 or so, the sun was out and people around me were noting that it
had gotten hot. I thought it was still fine, probably in the lower
60s. Perfect.

Miles 20-22 were still pretty strong. At mile 21 (I think), there is a
part of the course that is simply out and back for a total of about 1.5
miles. Out an back on a 2 lane road with the other direction consumed by
runners heading back. It was congested pretty badly and I caught the 4
hour pace group that started in corral A. That was good and bad.
Good in that they were claiming to be 45 seconds ahead of "chip time"
so it confirmed that I had a few minutes on 4 hours. Bad in that they
took up the whole fucking road. For a mile plus. Very frustrating.
By the 22 mile mark, I started to feel it a little. I was trying to get
around this pace group and I was now working harder to maintain pace. I'm
doing the math in my head to know what pace I can run over the last 4 miles and
still break 4 hours. I was glad I had banked some time and knew I still
had the same pace in me for another mile or so, but after that I wasn't
sure. For miles 22-24, I would say I was struggling to maintain pace, but
not in any trouble. Yet. perfect.

Miles were no longer zipping by as they had been for the 15 miles in the
middle. I was counting every step by the time I reached the 24 mile
mark. I was checking my watch for time and distance (but not pace) every
10 feet I bet. By this point, I was dead. Dead. I had virtually
nothing left. The annoying pace group that was immediately behind kept me
going a little. I wanted very, very badly to walk but I was worried I
wouldn't break 4. Mile 25 was really, really hard. But I was still
in good shape timewise, so I was still in good shape.

They tell you that when you hit the 25 mile mark and run into Epcot, it helps
you make that last mile. I found that to be a lie. As hard as mile
25 was, mile 26 was exponentially harder. Frankly, it was the hardest
thing I have ever done physically. The pace group passed me at some point
in here. At this race, you run into epcot at the world showcase around
Canada, then make your way around the whole world (it sure as hell felt like
it) and out through the front of the park to the parking lot and finish line.
As I was running around the world somewhere around 1 of the asian countries, I
looked across the way to see Spaceship Earth. I swear to god it seemed
like it was 40 miles away (in a straight line, which we were not
running). All I could do to keep going was to tell myself I was not going
to blow this race and not make 4 hours b/c I stopped to take a shit. I
was really afraid that if I walked I would miss my time goal. I thought
logically this probably wasn't true, but I didn't trust the watch, the splits,
and I didn't know where the finish was. That is all that kept me
going. As it turns out, had I stopped to walk, I seriously doubt I would
have been able to finish in anything less than another 15-20 minutes.
Finally, we were out of the park and the finish line is right there. I
crossed the line, tried to make sure not to touch or look at my watch as I
crossed, knowing I had made it. [Another aside: As I mentioned, Disney
does a dreadful job for spectators. I had nowhere I could really tell the
wife and kids to go to watch. I had told them the course ran by the
Boardwalk at mile 24ish and that they could park there and watch me on the
road. Well, it doesn't. The map was terrible. Anyway, they
skipped that and went to the finish line where they couldn't get to anywhere
where the girls could see. They were there right after the finish.
The wife saw me (the girls couldn't), but I was out of it by that point.]


3:59:01 official time. 1905 out of 13,478 finishers. 1465 out of
7163 men. 295 out of 1241 in my age group.

Post Race

Again, I ended up in the medical tent. That was pretty much by choice
though. When I finished, I had literally nothing left. I was
assisted to a bench where I had them ice me quads and I was just chugging
powerades and resting. 8-10 minutes later, I asked if they had a place I
could lay down, so they helped me to the tent (no wheelchair this time,
though). When they were checking me in, I told them I was just
exhausted. The lady asked me at least twice if I was lightheaded and I
told her I wasn't (I wasn't). When I was laying down, she explained to
the nurse/doctor that I was tired and lightheaded, to which I replied "I'm
not lightheaded, I'm just really tired." They checked my vitals and
again were concerned with by BP until I explained that I have naturally low BP
to begin with. After about 15 minutes of laying there, I headed out with
my discharge form which of course describes my problems as
"lightheaded". I thought I better check the race reunion area
to make sure the girls weren't there, but they were. The girls were
troopers, especially since they didn't get to see me. The rest of the day
I was pretty much worthless and everything below the waist hurts, but it's a
good hurt b/c I broke 4 hours. Now, I can retire.
Data
Summary 3:59:06.9 26.41 9:03








19:19.9
28:59.4
39:09.3
48:59.6
59:12.0
69:07.0
712:09.9
88:59.4
98:55.4
108:51.1
118:58.6
128:47.6
138:46.4
148:32.3
158:41.6
168:44.5
178:47.3
188:41.5
198:41.7
208:47.4
218:54.6
228:49.6
239:10.8
248:49.4
259:03.9
269:27.9
273:38.8
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:26 pm

Woohoo!! Congrats on breaking that sub-4 goal! Don't beat yourself up too much, Brian as those splits are quite good, and the fact that you place in the top 2000 in such a large race is fantastic.

My memories of the last mile in Epcot are very different from yours, but you sure had me chuckling. Great job, Brian!
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Post  John Kilpatrick on Mon Jan 09, 2012 4:33 pm

Congrats - I am extremely impressed of your consistent splits - really looked like you ran a great race. Entertaining report too! If you made it all the way to 24 or so before it got ugly, then you did something right - lot of hard work to get you there. Great job!

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Post  Schuey on Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:53 pm

Brian congrats on the sub 4 but what I like the most is that you gave it all you had and had nothing left at the end. As the days go by you will be proud about the effort you put fourth and that will only make the finishing time that much sweeter! Again congrats on a well ran 100% effort race!
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Post  healdgator on Mon Jan 09, 2012 6:04 pm

If you had told me I would run a 3:59 prior to the race, I probably would not have been that happy about it. As it turned out, I couldn't be more pleased.

As yet another aside, Disney's course map posted pre-race and in all the literature is way off. I don't know how you screw that up, but they did. I'm just glad the girls didn't try to go to the Boardwalk parking lot to watch me run by b/c we didn't run that way. Seriously, how do you screw that up?
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Post  Gobbles on Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:49 pm

Brian:
Congratulations on Breaking 4:00.

Disney's A Corral is down right funny. I was in A, but not racing for the 1/2 and Full, and walked across the start line in the 1/2 and jogged across in the full.

As a note, you can get your family into cheering positions, but it takes some planning and way too much effort.
That said, they really need to improve the finish for spectators!
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Post  Mark B on Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:50 am

Congratulations on the sub-4 finish, Brian! Your splits were solid, and you were smart and tough to grit your teeth and gut out those last couple of miles without walking. It's what made hitting your goal possible. Great job! cheers
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Post  healdgator on Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:56 am

Thanks, all. 3 days later, I'm still very happy about the whole thing. To my surprise, I think I'm more satisfied than had I cruised to a time in the 3:40s.
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Post  ounce on Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:00 pm

As the others have said, gratz on the sub-4! I do have a question.

Do you think another shot of Powerade or gu or something with sugar during the final two miles would have helped clear the fog that I perceived in your report?

You did very well. Gratz again!
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Post  healdgator on Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:56 pm

@ounce wrote:As the others have said, gratz on the sub-4! I do have a question.

Do you think another shot of Powerade or gu or something with sugar during the final two miles would have helped clear the fog that I perceived in your report?

You did very well. Gratz again!

I don't think Powerade would have helped (not a couple more ounces, anyway). Hard to say on a Gu gel. I think my hydration and energy plan was much, much better this time and it made a huge difference. It's fair to question how it would have gone had I worked a 4th gel in towards the very end. However, I've never gotten an immediate boost from any gel, electrolyte supplement, etc, so I tend to doubt it would have mattered. I think I just finally ran out of gas. IF, and that's a huge if, I were to do another one - I would go with the extra gel and another S-cap b/c they didn't have any negative effect and maybe they could have helped.

I hadn't thought of it until you brought it up. Good question.
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Post  Jerry on Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:02 pm

Congrats on the sub 4, Brian! Only mile 6, you need a stop, I feel your pain. lol!
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Post  ounce on Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:52 pm

@healdgator wrote:
All I could do to keep going was to tell myself I was not going
to blow this race and not make 4 hours b/c I stopped to take a shit.

My favorite line in the whole story. You DID do an excellent job on pace. Did you track heart rate?

During a long run, I found out that I get a bit loopey if I don't consume some form of sugar to clear my brain. I keep Fig Newtons on me and it clears up in about 10 minutes. But it doesn't appear we share the same affliction. thanks.
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Post  Dave P on Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:37 pm

Congrats on getting that sub 4 hr finish Brian!

BTW, that 180 turn on the highway near the end was my least favorite part of the course.
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Post  jon c on Thu Jan 12, 2012 2:49 pm

Enjoyed your report Brian and congrats on the sub 4! Always exciting when we meet our goal, however that may play out.

Really like how you slipped in the comment..."now I can retire". That is funny.Cool

Good luck on your future retirement plans!!
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Post  Stephanie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:56 am

Congrats on a sub-4!!!! That is awesome! I was out there doing the Chip & Dale relay and never once thought about how tricky watching the event would be for spectators so I especially appreciate your take on the event with regards to that. Hopefully things will be laid out more clearly next year as I am definitely hooked. Congrats on a great run!!!
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Post  healdgator on Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:41 pm

@Stephanie wrote:Congrats on a sub-4!!!! That is awesome! I was out there doing the Chip & Dale relay and never once thought about how tricky watching the event would be for spectators so I especially appreciate your take on the event with regards to that. Hopefully things will be laid out more clearly next year as I am definitely hooked. Congrats on a great run!!!

Thanks, Stephanie. Are you going to do a report?
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Post  Stephanie on Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:51 pm

@healdgator wrote:
@Stephanie wrote:Congrats on a sub-4!!!! That is awesome! I was out there doing the Chip & Dale relay and never once thought about how tricky watching the event would be for spectators so I especially appreciate your take on the event with regards to that. Hopefully things will be laid out more clearly next year as I am definitely hooked. Congrats on a great run!!!

Thanks, Stephanie. Are you going to do a report?
I sure will!! I just got back home and am back at work so it may take a few days. Hopefully I'll have something up this weekend.
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Post  dot520 on Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:30 am

Congratulations! What a wonderful race report....awesome job! I agree that the miles 23-25 are the longest, clearly a problem with the miles markers, (at least that is what I always think at the time). LOL

You're good for several weeks if not months just reveling in the glory of your sub-4 hour!!
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Post  Jack_Scaff on Fri Jan 20, 2012 5:47 pm

@healdgator wrote: All I could do to keep going was to tell myself I was not going
to blow this race and not make 4 hours b/c I stopped to take a shit.

Best...mantra....ever....Well run.






















































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