I ran the OCNJ half on September 30. I loved it. I really enjoyed visiting the town. It was about a month before Hurricane Sandy hit and when the hurricane came through I was really worried that the town that I fell in love with would be washed away. I was happy to learn that this was not the case, though other seaside towns in New Jersey suffered much worse damage. As for the race itself, It was nearly perfect. The weather conditions were ideal. The course, except for a bridge crossed twice in an out and back between miles three and four was very flat. In all, it was an ideal course for setting a PR. As it turned out, I not only PR’d but I also ran my first sub 3 hour half marathon.Two weeks later I ran the Baltimore Half Marathon. I ran with a bunch of other ROTErs. Unlike Ocean City, Baltimore was anything but flat. Also unlike Ocean City, I decided to throttle back to avoid wearing myself out before the Marine Corps Marathon, two weeks later. I finished, though a good bit slower than Ocean City. The following week I ran the Army Ten Miler. I finished, though a bit slower than planned. I was ready to go for the Marine Corps Marathon the following week.
Or at least I thought I was. I made it through the first seven miles okay. By about mile 8 it was apparent that something was off. Somewhere between mile 11 and 12, I started falling back. By mile 15 and a half, I pulled myself off the course and to the med tent. It was my first, and so far only, DNF. But after extremely sore legs, significantly reduced body temperature, and vomiting, taking a medical DNF seemed the wise thing to do.
Because of my inability to finish MCM, I decided that another race was needed to get me back of track. I registered for the Richmond Half two weeks after MCM. I thought the race was very well done. The course was fairly flat. There was a lot of on course support from local Richmonders. I was able to finish fairly comfortably, just what I needed after the previous couple of weeks.
After this, a couple of things happened. One, I began my training for Goofy. Because Goofy involves back to back races, I started running on back to back weekend days. This ended up taking much of my weekend time that might otherwise have used for blogging. However, the better part of my time has been taken up by a certain young lady. Her name is Kimberly. She’s an attorney living in Florida. I got to know her through ROTE; she joined about a month after I did. We began corresponding in mid-October and I finally asked her out in mid-November. She was able to come up to visit some old friends, and me, at the end of December. I like her a lot. I expect that this blog will see a lot of her from now on; starting with WDW Marathon Weekend.Going into Marathon Weekend, I was undertrained, owing to the fact that I missed a few weeks because of getting sick. While I wasn’t sure of how the weekend was going to go, I was excited to see Kimberly. I was there for what was unofficially termed the Dopey, the 5K in addition to the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge. I honestly was not sure if I was going to finish both of the long races of how poorly I had trained. Ultimately, I knew that with trying to upgrade my level of Half Fanatics and trying to qualify as a Marathon Maniac (to say nothing of how cool the marathon medal was) that I had no choice but to finish. The race weekend began with the 5K. Kimberly and I, and a number of other ROTErs ran it. The course ran through EPCOT. It entered the park between Mexico and Norway, continuing around the top of the World Showcase, going down through Future World and finishing outside the park.
Day 2 was the Half Marathon. It started again outside of EPCOT, this time though it headed toward the Magic Kingdom. By the time I got to the Magic Kingdom, it was early enough that the Icicle lights on the castle were still lit. I found Kimberly on Main Street waiting for me. I kept on going through Tomorrowland and New Fantasyland. The course continued through the Castle and then through Liberty Square and Frontierland. The course goes out through a backstage area and past a golf course and the Grand Floridian en route back to EPCOT.
The final day was the Marathon. Kimberly was running it with me; it was her first marathon. The Marathon starts outside of EPCOT, heads to the Magic Kingdom then through Animal Kingdom to Wide World of Sports, into Hollywood Studios and through the Boardwalk area back into and through EPCOT. At this point I had run 16.2 miles in the previous two days but was still feeling pretty fresh; however, that didn’t last. About mile 15, my feet started hurting. By then I was past the point of failure at MCM and I was feeling like I was going to finish. However, the pain in my feet forced me to reduce to a walk for the next several miles. This corresponded with the temperature which by that point was up into the 80s.
By the time we were in Wide World of Sports some other ROTErs had caught up with us we found out that were close to being swept. It’s amazing how fast my feet improved when I found out I was in danger of being swept. We picked up the pace to get to Hollywood Studios before the sweepers. By the time we got there, we were told that the sweepers were right behind us.
We knew that once we got onto the path to the Boardwalk we would be fine. It turned out that they had stopped sweeping after we got into Hollywood Studios, but we didn’t know that at the time. We made it successfully to the path to the Boardwalk and EPCOT. This was the point where, a year earlier, I first made contact with other ROTErs. I ended up finishing with the same three I first met the previous year. By that point it was all I could do to just walk to the end. I did make it to the end and finished. My first Goofy is done. I doubt I would have been able to do it without the help of my fellow ROTErs, especially Kimberly. It certainly would not have been nearly as fun.
Next up in February is the Myrtle Beach Marathon, followed the next weekend by the Disney Princess weekend 5K. A month after Myrtle Beach is the Rome Marathon. Hopefully, through this, I’ll be a little more regular in posting.