Monday, January 07, 2002

RR Disney Marathon

Race Report
Disney Marathon
Disney World, FL

Mild weather - very PAINFUL! What else do you need to know?What's that - you want some of the gory details? I don't know - it may be like childbirth - the mind blocks it out?The weekend started out wonderful when I received an invitation from a few friends (members of the 50 States Club) to join them for a pasta dinner at one friend's (Marty) place in Lake Mary, FL. I hadn' t seen Marty since we ran a race (my 50th state) in Ft Wayne, IN in 1995. I hadn't seen the other compadre (Edson from NYC) since the Turin Marathon in March 2000 so it was afun reunion.I wasn't too excited about the actual race because the weather was expected to be very cold and the logistics of the Disney Marathon is a bitch. On top of that I wasn't very confident that my right leg would hold up.The race starts outside the entrance to Epcot at 6am but because of thelarge number of runners (12,000 in the marathon and 7,000 in the half) you have tobe in the parking lot by 4am. That means waking up at 3am and waiting two hours in the cold!The running expo was held in Disney's Wide World of SportsComplex but was pretty lame for a race of that size.Marty's pasta party with pasta cooked by chef Edson was the highlight of thetrip. Nicole and I left early though since it was a 40 minute drive back to the hotel and I had to be up at 3am.There was good news on the weather front however. Instead of the record low of 31 degrees Sat morning, the low on Sun was expected to be 55. I had takenpolypro tights and long sleeve top expecting cold weather and had to switch to shorts and short-sleeve T-shirt. I arrived at the parking lot at 4am which allowed me to park close enough tothe staging area to stay in the car until 5am instead of standing around in the dark. 55 degrees still feels cold at 4am! Finally all the runners made their way to the start and Mickey Mouse started us on time. I had beenseeded in the first corral which allowed me to get about 3 rows from the startline. That may have been a mistake as I took off with the fast crowd and ran the first mile under 8 minutes on stiff and unstretched muscles. By mile 2 my right leg was sore as Hell and screaming at me! Thunderbolts ofpain were shooting from my right hip down my leg to my knee. TWO MILES!"Boy, this is going to be a long, painful day!" I knew that if I wanted to finish the race (only 24 more miles to go) that I had to find a pace at which the pain eased off some. Quitting was NOT an option - the Maddog NEVER quits! Bymile 5 I had determined that if I kept the pace around 8:40 I could just barely tolerate the pain.For the next 15 miles my leg and I played a little game of "How much paincan you stand?" For a few miles I would seem to find a pace or groove where my body could manufacture endorphins (a natural drug/pain killer) fast enoughto reduce or mask the pain. But then the hip would shoot out a bolt of pain so severe that I would involuntarily cry out and the complete leg would go intoparalysis and start to collapse under me. Luckily the paralysis would only last for less than a second and I would recover before falling? No matter what I tried (other than walking or stopping which was not an option for theMaddog) this silly and painful little game lasted until 20 miles.And the sad part was that energy-wise I felt good through the first 20 milesbut whenever I tried to pick up the pace -WHAMMO -THUNDERBOLTS of PAIN!By mile 21 the game was getting to me and I believe the leg was starting to win. BUT the marathon Gods came through for me! At that point the course looped back on itself for about one mile and on the other side of the medianwas Marty - heading for the finish line! My competitive juices took over! I figure that he had about a 2 to 2 1/2 minute lead on me. We were bothrunning about a 9 minute pace so if I dropped the pace to 8 1/2 minutes (and he didn't speed up) I might be able to catch him by 25 miles. I summoned every last once of willpower and begged/coaxed/beat my body and leg to drop the pace to 8:30. Actually 8:35 was the best I could beat out of the old bod butI figured that may still do it.Over the next 5 miles I was so focused on catching Marty that I barely noticed the thunderbolts shooting out of my right hip. For the first time inthe race I was starting to hurt from running FAST. I was initially disappointed when I reached mile 25 and still couldn't see Marty but responded by beating the dead horse, er body, to give me an 8:20 on the lastmile! Alas, Marty had guessed what I might try and had picked up his pace over the last 5 miles to finish in 3:48. I finished 56 seconds behind him.But I was not disappointed. No Siree! If it had not been for that friendlycompetition those last 5 miles would have been mighty ugly and painful.The course runs through all the kingdoms of Disney World and Epcot so youget a 26 mile tour of Disney World. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck et al are out in force to cheer the runners on. However listening to Disney theme music for26 miles (or 4 hours) did start to bother me. There are a zillion twists and turns in the course as it weaves through the kingdoms so it is not a fast course. But it would make an enjoyable weekend for a marathon family. I'mnot sure that I would want to run it again because of cost ($75 entry fee) and the logistics as described.My biggest concern is what do I do NOW? I am obligated/committed to two moremarathons in the next month. Bermuda is in two weeks and the tickets are purchased and reservations made so I am definitely going and I will raceeven if I have to crawl the damn course! But I am not sure that even the high levels of pain tolerance and willpower possessed by the Maddog can continue to overcome the adversity that was thrown at him in the last race?I have tried massages, herb supplements,a chiropractor and even two weeks ofrest - ALL to NO AVAIL? I would go to an orthoped or a sports doctor but he is just going to tell me to take anti-inflammatories and rest. Hell, I can self diagnose that treatment but that is not acceptable! Any suggestions?

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