The phone rings at 3:15, and Steve is up and getting ready. I decide to let my phone alarm go off so I can hear a little music from Pirates of the Caribbean to pump me up. I had everything laid out, but I started OCD’ing about absolutely everything, ranging from how much water I should drink before getting on the bus to which arm I should wear my Magic Band on. After quintuple-checking everything, I looked at Steve, and we gave each other the nod that we’re ready to do. The bus arrived about 4-5 minutes after we made it to the stop, and there were still seats available, so we grabbed two up-front and started talking to the others. About ten minutes later, we were at the unloading area and were repeating the events from yesterday morning.
After the security check, we made it over to the Team AllEars meet-up in the staging area. There were a few familiar faces that were there that morning that weren’t there the previous morning, including Michael Fuller, a past Team AllEars member, who stopped by to say hi to the crew. In what seemed like no time at all, we started forming up for the team picture. As everyone got into place, I shook hands with good friend Tom Troost, who was lining up behind me for the pic.
….wait a minute…
You’re wearing a bib.
YOU’RE DOING THE MARATHON??!!!!!!! YOUR FIRST MARATHON??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now, this is the perfect time to let everyone know that Tom had already done the 5K, 10K, and half, but he had not trained for a full marathon. This in itself is crazy, but it is even more so because he had run the previous 3 days!!! I immediately felt bad because there were many pictures of Barb Kennedy, Julie Patton, and me as the “first-timers” for this race. Tom calmly said that he’d run as far as he could and, if he didn’t make it, he’d just stop and enjoy the rest of the day.
We got the picture taken, but I felt that something was wrong…Barb wasn’t there. I immediately pulled out the phone to see if she had sent any updates, and I saw that she posted a picture just a few minutes before of her with Jeff Galloway.
Yeah, I probably would have made the same decision on that one.
Barb showed up a few minutes later, and we had another pic taken.
After that, we all said our good lucks to each other, and we started off on our long trek…
…to the corrals.
Only those who have done the half or full at Marathon Weekend will get that joke. I knew that Teammates MaryJean Kancel (affectionately known as “MJ”) and Evelyn DeLuccia were in the same corral that I was in (Corral M). My roommate for the weekend, Steve Cantafio, along with Teammate Ellie Argaluza, ran with MJ and Evelyn during the half the previous day and decided to fall back to Corral M with them and me for the full, too.
Now, I have to preface the rest of this report with the fact that we all agreed that “what happens on the marathon course STAYS on the marathon course.” If there is a vague comment or a story that may seem a bit incomplete, well…you now know why (muahahahaha).
On the walk to the corrals, I was brought up-to-date on the discussions from the previous day’s race. The only thing I could initially think about was, “poor Steve!!” Then I realized that I was the fresh meat of the group and that I was about to be initiated into the group, and I immediately felt the blood drain from my face in fear and apprehension.
I was saved by the fact that we met up with another flock from Team AllEars heading down to the corrals, and we intermingled for a few minutes until we hit the armada of porta-potties. At that point, the groups broke off to head to their respective corrals. It was about 4:45…there was still around 45 minutes to go before the official start.
We were near the front of the corral, and the veteran marathoners pulled out an old mylar blanket and spread it across the road for us to sit on while we waited. We talked with a bunch of people around us, including a woman named Amanda, a gentleman named Darrell, and many others. I got to hear Joe Taricani from The Marathon Show call out our very own Barb Kennedy for her first marathon a few minutes before the start…AWESOME!!!
My 25,000 closest friends quieted down for the singing of our national anthem (though we did have one do the “OOHHHHHHH” shout right next to us…grrrrr), and, a few minutes later, our first Teammate, Ed Russell, was launched with the wheelchair division.
(Ed's in front of the purple sign)
Then came the first wave...
Yeah…I’m going to have to get the entire family down for one of the RunDisney races so they can experience this.
Requisite Team AllEars Corral Pic:
We knew that we still had a good 30 minutes or so before it was our turn, so we continued talking to everyone around us. About 10-15 minutes before our wave was expected to start, everyone developed the same nervous urge to hit the bathroom one more time, so we took turns watching for when we would start moving while others ran to the porta-potties. As we saw Corral L start walking past us, the last few people in the area darted for the bathrooms. We also noticed several from later corrals jumping into our corral as well as in J, K, and L.
Finally, we got to start walking our way to the start line. We still had a couple of corrals to go before we were off, but the atmosphere was simply electric. Most were nervous but really happy. I downed my Clif Shot Bloks and guzzled a bit of water…and waited. I was definitely nervous about falling behind the pace of everyone else. I had trained for a :30/1:00 pace, but the others had agreed to try a :30/:45 pace, which is what they did the previous day for the half. I told them early on that I was completely fine if I couldn’t stay with them and that they should just go ahead…I wanted them to run their own race.
Corral L blasted off, and we were next:
Rudy Novotny, known by everyone as “The Voice of America’s Marathons”, has been an absolutely huge supporter of Team AllEars over the years. During the third year of the Team (my second year on it), Mike Scopa put out a call one December morning for as many Team AllEars members as possible to send Rudy a friend request on Facebook. Rudy is immensely popular with many, MANY people, yet he took the time to accept every single request and comment back to everyone. His actions, along with a similar “friend-bombing” of Joe Taricani, helped Team AllEars gain a lot more visibility, as well as more money raised.
Everyone knew that I had the drill instructor voice, so they had me shout out to him, which you probably heard about 1:09 into the video below.
Kewl…another Team AllEars Shoutout! …annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd WE’RE OFF!!!!!