Thursday, January 11, 2007

RR Disney Marathon

Race ReportDisney Marathon
Sun, Jan 7/07
Orlando. FL
Marathon # 279

Although I don’t even like this marathon – it is too expensive and the logistics suck – I had registered for it in early 2006 because I wanted retribution! I had run it twice before –in 02 and 06 and both times I had lined up at the start line injured/hurting or out of shape. This year would be different! The third time would be the charm! Right!!!!!!!

As you all know 2006 did not end well with the DVT. But I had run two training marathons in Dec and had some good training runs, including some speed work, during the Xmas holidays in Seattle. Thus I was confident that I could set a PR for the race! It wasn’t much of a challenge – I only had to run a 3:40! That should be feasible since I had finished the previous marathon (3 weeks earlier) in 3:44?

I checked the race results from the previous years and determined that I would have to run a sub 3:30 to place in the top three in my Age Group. I knew that wasn’t going to happen so I set a reasonable goal of 3:40. I drove over to Orlando on Sat to pick up my race packet and meet a good friend from NYC for pasta dinner. Unfortunately we were never able to hook up so I ate an early dinner alone and watched the NFL playoffs. Both my teams won! I took that as a good sign?

The race starts at 6 am on Sun and that is why the logistics suck! Because there are 13,000 runners it is necessary to get to the parking lot /staging area at Epcot by 5 am to walk one mile to the start line! Thus you have to get up at 4 am!
Florida had been enjoying (?) some unseasonably hot weather this year and the forecast called for more. It turned out to be the hottest weather in the history of the race - foggy and 71 F at the 6 am start with high temps forecast in the mid –80s!
I lined up with 13,000 runners. There were two corrals to handle the large start. One thing I will give Disney credit for is that the race is very well organized – a typical Disney event that is staged for profit!

Since I didn’t want to start out too fast I lined up about 20 rows from the start line in Corral A. That worked out well. By the time my corral merged with the 2nd coral at 3.3 miles I was averaging an 8:15 pace. I passed mile 10 in 1:22:49 and the Half in 1:49:27. I was averaging an 8:20 pace but I would have to hold that pace through the 2nd Half to beat 3:40? I wasn’t sure if I could do that but was determined to try my best. When I reached mile 16 in 2:14:00 the sun had burned through the fog and the temps started to soar into the 80s I figured it was going to get ugly for the last 10 miles! By the time I reached mile 20 in 2:49:09 my pace had slowed to 8:45. I still wasn’t worried because I felt good and figured that I could lower the pace to 8:15s for the last 10Km? I tried to lower the pace (thought I did) but my damn watch kept reading 8:40s for the next 3 miles?

When I passed mile 23 in 3:16:20 I calculated that I had to push the pace to sub 8s for the last 5 Km to accomplish my goal and decided I was willing to accept the pain to do that! It lasted about 30 secs - before my left calf started to cramp and then it cramped severely and locked up! Damn – it was the same pain and symptoms that I had suffered at the end of the Patagonia Marathon (before the DVT!). I became concerned immediately and wisely decided that it wasn’t worth the risk so I stopped and stretched and massaged the calf. The cramp would not release so I walked for a few minutes and tried to stretch the muscle several times. I tried to run again but the pain was too severe so I walked/limped. I was not willing to quit or drop out at 23 miles so I continued to walk/limp and tried to run a few times. It took 12 minutes to reach mile 24! By then I had figured out that as long as I jogged/walked/limped no faster than a 12-min pace the pain was tolerable so I continued and reached mile 25 in another 12 minutes! I was so frustrated and upset! All I could think was “This can’t be happening”? “How can I develop another blood clot when I am on blood thinners”? But the pain and symptoms (and even the location) were absolutely identical to those I had suffered in the right leg?

Somehow I managed to do a little more running on the last mile to reach mile 26 in 10 minutes and finally limp across the finish line in 3:52:37! The second I stopped the leg/calf locked up again and would not release. Thus I only stayed in the finish area long enough to take a mandatory finish line photo and headed back to the hotel. However there was a major problem! I could not get into the car! The left leg was locked up and in so much pain that when I tried to force it to bend to get into the car the right leg started to cramp! I screamed in pain and finally a kind volunteer arrived to help me lift my pain-ridden and useless legs into the car! When I arrived at the hotel the only way I could figure to get out of the car was to fall out on to the ground! Does it sound like I was having fun? Are you all enthused and eager to join me at my next marathon? I hope so!

After I limped into a hot shower the cramps eased a little and I was able to make the 2-hr drive back home and straight into the hot tub. First thing Mon morning I called my GP and went to his office and requested a venous ultrasound on both legs. I went straight to the lab and had the tests done. I was surprised (and relieved) when the tech informed me that there were no blood clots – no new clot in the left leg and the old clot in the right leg had dissolved and was gone! That was very good news! But it left a big mystery? What in the Hell had happened to my left leg and why was it still sore? I couldn’t even walk w/o major pain?

That condition lasted for 3 days – in fact both legs were in pain - so I wisely decided to just ‘rest’ until the pain disappeared. I was finally able to run an easy 10 miles 4 days after the marathon? I have no idea what caused the pain/problem or if it is really healed?
I am beginning to believe what I am thinking and what a few friends have advised –“my old bod is telling me that it is tired and worn out and needs a rest”! It has done this before – twice in the past 8 years. It will either completely shut down when I try to run or ‘invent’ a pain/injury that makes it too painful to run. The only cure when this happens is to take a complete rest from running for a minimum of 1 month! I don’t know if I have reached this point again? I am going to run the Miami Marathon at the end of Jan as another test marathon. If I experience the same problems I will know the answer!

However now I am obligated to go back to Disney again next year. I can’t let a race continue to beat my ass like that! I must go back and prove that I am better than my first three performances! Speaking of which I did check the race results on the Net – as expected the first 3 places ran sub 3:30. 1st place ran a sub 3:00! I would have finished in 4th place if I had accomplished my 3:40 but instead finished 10th /141 runners in my age group.
I will not be satisfied until I place in the top 3 AG in this race!

Stay tuned!

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