Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014 Marathon Weekend - 5k and 10k

So I sat down to start writing this post. I quickly realized that I think it's going to be harder than I imagined.  So many thoughts and memories happened over the entire weekend, how do I put them all into a few posts.  Anyway, I think this is going to end up being three posts in total, the first talking about the 5k and 10k, the second the half and full, and the third one just wrapping up the weekend and some general thoughts.

Anyway, we left on a Wednesday morning.  Luckily it wasn't a super early flight.  Joelle used to detest those but has seemed to gotten better with them.  Though with the cold snap we were going through, I was happy that we were leaving a bit later. Most of my friends that were doing Dopey were also flying out that same day.  With the extreme cold weather, some of them really were struggling to just get down to Orlando.  Flights were canceled out of New York, Chicago and other NE cities.  Some people were able to rebook, others ended up just driving down to Florida.

Getting ready to leave on Wednesday morning

Once we got into Orlando, things went pretty smoothly.  We stopped and picked up our car (aka Pony Magik) and headed to the expo.  With all the chaos of the last few expos, this one was relatively calm. We breezed right in and picked up our packets (which included my six shirts) and did some quick shopping.  It was a good expo, but seemed a bit smaller than normal.  It might also be that I'm getting sort of numb to the excitement of a RunDisney expo.  

We didn't really want to hit the parks at this point in the day, so we took off to the vacation home that we rented.  Last year during marathon weekend, I was pretty convinced to not come back this year.  I really needed a break from all the training, not to mention it was getting pretty expensive. Several of my friends on Team AllEars brought up the idea of getting vacation home and splitting the cost in order to make it more affordable.  Thus the Nerdery was born.  We ended up looking all around and settled on an eight bedroom house just south of Animal Kingdom.  Now in hindsight, that was such a wonderful idea.  In fact, I strongly suggest that if you are going down to marathon weekend in the future with a group of friends, look at renting a house.  We had a pool, hot tub, BBQ, huge game room, all for about $160 a person. Much cheaper than staying onsight and while there are some inconveniences, I think in all it enhanced the weekend.

Shopping for the Nerdery. We went a bit crazy.

That first night Julie offered to make Mexican food for us, and while it was a great idea, the problem is I think we underestimated how long it would take us to organize, get out of the house and to the store. We ended up getting to Target around 7:00 PM.  3 full shopping carts of food later and about an hour later, we left the store, fully stocked up with all the food we needed for the weekend.  After a quick meal, some BSing and drinking around the house (had to taste the moonshine that Jamison brought from West Virginia), most of us headed to bed.

My mentor as Buddy the Elf for the 5k.

Most of us were running the next morning, so we started the 4 day ritual of getting up early (5 days for me, but more on that later).  My plan for the weekend consisted of racing the 5k, running the 10k with my wife and friends, running the half fairly easy and then racing the marathon.  I haven't had a chance to really race a 5k at peak performance in a while, and I was really curious how I could do down at sea level. I was also fairly sure that any sort of effort in the 5k wouldn't hurt my performance for the the marathon on Sunday.   

I know there is lots of debate over whether you should PR a Disney race or not.  I say, do what is fun for you.  If you want to PR a Disney race, it can be done.  For me it is the natural race for me to try and race.  It's the big focus of my most intense training, it's at sea level, and the course and atmosphere really pump me up. Also when doing something like the Dopey or Goofy, I think there is some benefit to getting off your feet in a reasonable amount of time. Other people's bodies work differently, and RunDisney races might not be the best place to really work on speed.  Again, I think it really to each their own.  

I think all weekend I was pretty worried about the heat and humidity.  Forecasts were going up and down but it looked like it would be a hot weekend, especially for the 10k and half.  Luckily I think it was perfect race weather on the morning of the 5k.

Cheering on Team AllEars at end of the 5k.  Laura and Bryan Thompson's first 5k!

After I finished I ran back to the end and cheered on the rest of my running team as they came through.  I think one of the coolest moments was when I saw teammate Brian and Laura just about to cross the finish line of their first 5k.

5k PR - Way faster than I would have guessed.

I did end up getting a PR, 22:38, about two minutes off my previous PR.  I think the 5k success helped setup the day as ending up being one of my best Disney days ever.  I think if I went back to marathon weekend, I'd run the 5k again and then take two days off and do the marathon.  I love Epcot in the dark and being able to run around World Showcase was pretty awesome.

Ehmergerd!  Jack and Sara get engaged on Main Street!

After the runners were all done, we headed over to Magic Kingdom.  Erinn had told us that she wanted to get a shot of all of us on Main Street, but what we didn't know is Sara's boyfriend Jack was planning on proposing to her.  It was a huge surprise to all of us.  After many tears and congratulations, I had to tear off and run over to the Beach Club.  

One of my favorite podcasts, the Mickey Miles podcast was having a breakfast over at Ariel's at the Beach Club.  What a fabulous time that was.  It was nice to catch up with some good friends (sat with Eve and Phil Vanderpool).  They had a great buffet and were able to announce their new running team, the Mickey Milers!  I remember a few years ago when Michelle told me that they were thinking about starting a podcast.  It seems like that was so long ago and it really has grown into such a great entity of it's own.  I'm so proud of what both her and Mike were able to accomplish in the last few years.  

After that, headed back to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with the rest of the nerds.  I was getting pretty tired at this point, but we had some unfinished business that we had to attend to.  What began as Sara doing a very sweet thing for a bunch of children ended up turning into one of the most magical experiences that I've seen.  I won't go into detail since I'm pretty sure someone else will end up blogging about it eventually.

We then had to head back to the Nerdery to get ready for our one big night out, aka Nerdprom.  We all got dressed up and headed back to our ressie at Cali Grill.  Erinn and Joelle ended up crowning Jack and Sara our King and Queen of nerdprom. 

Jack and Sara get crowned King and Queen of nerdprom!

After Cali grill it was onto the monorail crawl.  I think the Lapu Lapu's at Tambu Lounge were the big hit of the night.  Even Julie who said she wasn't drinking much until after the marathon ended up partaking in the yummy beverage.  After the Tambu Lounge, Phil texted me and asked if we wanted to join him at the Top of the World Lounge.  Of course!  Normally it wasn't available unless you were a DVC member staying on points on property.  Phil, being the suave guy that he is, ended up getting all 15 of us up there to watch wishes.  What a great way to end the magical night.

Stop 2 of the monorail crawl, Tambu Lounge.

Next morning was the 10k day.  An even earlier wakeup call was needed so that we could all get into costume.  We decided as a group that we'd go as the Avengers.  My wife Joelle really wanted to go as Ironman, so I decided to support her and go as Pepper Potts.  

Julie and I looking like twins on 10k morning.  Ginger Power!

What a fabulous morning!  The temps had ticked up and it was very humid, but I wasn't overly concerned as we were all going to take it pretty easy.  At first I think we were planning on all running together but that's pretty difficult in such a large group.  Joelle, Christina and I ended up running the first four miles or so together.  Christina had signed up for the Dopey but several months before, at Wine and Dine she realized that her knee was having issues and that she doubted she would be able to run the full on Sunday.  So we had a good time during the 10k just taking it easy.  Once we got back into Epcot near the end, the nerds all waited up for each other and we ended up coming into the finish as a group.  

Avengers Assemble!

It was really a hoot to be able to run this as a group and with friends. The cast members were really terrific and we had a good time chatting with them during the entire course.  I think our finish time was around 1:58.

Joelle as Ironman, me as Pepper Potts

After the 10k, most of us headed back to the house for the rest of the day.  That evening we were having a BBQ so I just took a nap before getting up and prepping for the party.

Anyway, I think I've prattled on long enough for one post, more later on the 1/2 and full.

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