Race Recap: Star Wars Half Marathon Dark Side

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Wow, where do I start?  It was a most interesting race (in the you may live in interesting days way).  I cannot stress how important the weather is for a race.  This one should have been in the evening.

My last great race was an evening race. True, in Florida, the weather is unpredictable on good days, but the race was successful. I felt comfortable and not too warm or cold.  I felt confident that I could do the race and the sun was not a factor. The sun is not my friend, when it is in Florida and it is accompanied by high amounts of humidity.

Back to my race. It started off totally early at 1:40am. I knew I needed to meet the first bus at 3:00. I should have known that then I had to tape up my ankles (both of them), because I hurt them in the hot, hot, sun, while walking around the Theme Parks. Magic Kingdom can be rough when it is at capacity.

We got on the bus and took off to the start at the Magic Kingdom.  This was the first time I started from there instead of ESPN. It was a great start. It was dark, about 76 degrees and 40% humidity. Humidity will come into play later.

Coral “G” was where I was placed for this race. This is a very back of the race. But I decided to stand in the front of the corral to get a good start. My plan was to beat, or stay with that pace group, and do a Galloway method for the First 6 miles.  Then do a random pattern of Walk/Run till mile 9 or 11.  The rest of the way would work itself out depending on how I felt. This did not happen.

After we started to run, I realized that mile 1 was going to be a problem. I always have issues in any run for about 1 – 2 miles. We embedded ourselves into the pace group. They were doing a burst of 30 minute run with 15 minute walk. It seemed pretty good for a while. But as the humidity rose, I found myself not being able to breathe as easily as I did in the beginning. So, just before mile 6, I broke off from the pace group not realizing that this was just my first challenge. The Sun was not up yet. It was just rising.

We continued on, as the Sun rose and the miles passed, I became much slower. Maple Syrup was faster! I threw water on my back and down my front at every water stop. I counted down every mile with optimism (well not the last 2). I used the Gel with caffeine at mile 6 and mile 9. I monitored my time. But one thing I did not do is stop until mile 12. I felt like I was out of gas. This was bad because I had one mile ahead of me in the hot and humid World Showcase (Epcot).

I tried everything to get to the finish. It worked.

I finally arrived into Epcot Theme Park  proper, but I had no idea where I was. I was fading fast. At the last .1 mile I made a run for the finish. I made it.

I was so exhausted, overheated and hungry. I felt like I was out of gas. I saw a fence on the right side that was empty and ran towards it. I was clinging onto it for life. The medics took over. There were so many of them around. All I remember is saying something about being over heated and wanting to get my medal.

Yes, I did get my medal…in a wheelchair.

Then I got cooling towels, food and water.

It was not my best moment, but it was a moment.  I was dropped off in the cooling zone and I decided to try to get my “challenge medals” after about an hour of delay.  I went to get the challenge medals and them I was off to the photographers. As I went toward the photographers, where I promptly felt nauseous and sat on the floor for another 30 minutes with medics.  Problem I ate a banana. I was not supposed to eat or drink because of the overheating.

Finally, I recovered enough to take my pictures and try to find my bus back to the hotel. Sigh.

I made it back to my hotel to “live to run another day”. Ha!

Thanks to the medics and RunDisney staff, I will be back.

 

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