Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WDW Marathon Weekend 2014 - MARATHON DAY, Part 4

You can read the previous installment HERE.

The next part of the course, to me, seemed like the killer portion.  We were to head out of the AK parking lot and make a long loop arc via the Osceola Parkway onramp.  It was then straight east into the sun for what I anticipated to be about 75.3 miles, on two overpasses and back down before finally, mercifully, turning into the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, where we make about 4,375 lefts and rights around various fields before FINALLY making our way back towards a theme park.  The cheering was going to be pretty sparse in this area, too.

Yeah, you could say I wasn’t looking forward to this part of the course.

Darrell, Ellie, and I were all getting a little tired, and there wasn’t a whole lot of talking by us (or anyone else around us, for that matter).  Ellie tried again to get me to go ahead and finish without her, and I again reassured her that the sweepers were nowhere near to us (we’re still < the 16:00 pace, plus we have the padding of the corrals that started after us and before the sweepers).

Mile 14 was in the books at 16:08 (hr 155), and Mile 15 (on the first overpass) was at 15:46 and 157 hr.  We were looking forward to the top of this overpass, because we knew that there would be a Team AllEars contingent waiting for us up there!  Bryan and Melanie Camphouse, along with Brian and Laura Thompson.  Man, we NEEDED that cheer squad!!!

(Photo courtesy of Darrell Burgoon) 

We stopped and talked for a couple of minutes with the 4 of them.  Bryan handed a Coke to Ellie (who had requested one before the race) and asked if I wanted one.  I declined, but he looked at, paused, and asked if I really wanted to have a Coke.

I again said, “nope…thanks, though!” … then I noticed his smile and his head-bob towards Ellie.

Yeah – I was a little slow on the uptake.  I’ll hold it for Ellie for later down the course.

All too soon, we said our goodbyes, and we started back down the overpass.  The Coke did Ellie some good, as she got some more bounce in her step.  I kept the other Coke hidden from her as we hit mile 16 near the top of the World Drive Overpass (16:26 and 158…pace was slower from stopping at the McDonald’s Team AllCheers group…SO WORTH IT!)  As we crested the second overpass, we finally were able to see racers returning from the Wide World of Sports on the Ramp-From-Hell near mile 21.  Well-known (and absolutely insane, in the best way possible) mega-cheerer Laura Smith Ozo was near mile 20.7, on the other side of Osceola…once I found her, I went back into military drill-instructor voice and gave a rather loud show-out to her.  Laura definitely heard it and waved/shouted back to all of us.  It was a good thing she saw us; she sent out a FB post mentioning that she saw us; it was the first update on our progress since the half split, and some folks (Sheri) were getting a little concerned that something had happened to us.

Sheri was definitely relieved, and she started posting Disney quotes on my FB wall (though I didn’t see most of them until I was a little outside of Hollywood Studios and finally took a minute to check FB (Troost…no comments!).  
“Just keep running. Just keep running, running, running. What do we do? We run, run. (channeling my inner Dory)”
"Keep moving forward."- Walt Disney”
I am on my way, I can go the distance. I don’t care how far, somehow I’ll be strong. I know every mile, will be worth my while. I will go most anywhere to find where I belong. Hercules”

Ellie had just about downed her Coke, and I pulled out the second one and gave it to her, with Bryan’s blessing.  She nearly hugged me right then and there.

I was also looking for Joe Taricani broadcasting on the course, but we didn’t find each other.  The excitement factor was increasing again as we turned right onto Victory Way towards WWOS.  Most everyone was high-fiving the outgoing runners as we passed each other.  About halfway to the WWOS entry, Ellie spotted Bob and Barb Kennedy on the outbound side.  We all stopped for quick hugs and updates.  Barb was looking simply awesome, with that smile on her face!

We left and immediately found the Mile 17 marker (16:15 and 159).  Soon after, we turned right and headed into WWOS!  Finally…we’re off the road.

…and we’re on a bunch of walkways…with the first one seeming to go on for-evah!!!

Darrell peeled of hit a restroom.  We offered to wait for him, but he said he’d catch up.  Honestly, I thought we wouldn’t see him again.  A couple of minutes later, Ellie and I saw a sight that may as well have been Nirvana; RunDisney was handing out towels soaked in cold water.  We both grabbed one and nearly kissed the RunDisney folks handing them out.

We took a left and a right through soccer fields and then found ourselves entering the track.  Our legs were LOVING the track surface.  I pulled out my inner engineer, and Ellie and I took the most direct route to the inner portion to minimize the distance.  AS we hopped off the track, we hit the mile 18 marker (16:36 and 160), and Darrell surprised us by catching up really quickly.  After a bunch of lefts and rights, as well as 1-2 shortened run intervals to help with the heart rate, we were all cussing this part of the course.  On more than one occasion, Ellie let out a “I HATE ESPN!!!!” to everyone around us.  Each outburst gained progressively more shouts of agreement by the runners.  The trek to the Mile 19 marker seemed to never arrive, but it finally did (16:47 and 159).  The mile splits were heading up quite a bit, but I think we all were losing motivation with the course. 

Just about that time, RunDisney must have sensed it, because we had another banana stop.  We each grabbed a banana and said “Thank You!!” to the volunteers (along with a “no offense, but WE HATE THE WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS!!!” – which was met with laughs) and trudged forward.  The next big cheering section (we hoped) was going coming up…the baseball stadium.  We entered, and I immediately got warning track gravel in a shoe.  


I didn’t waste the energy to see my ugly mug on the jumbo tron, and, if you check out the video, I think you’ll agree that most people were not really feeling it.

We (mercifully) left the stadium, and I had to pause to get about 2.5 lbs of rock out of my shoes.   A few (dozen) more turns, and we finally made our way out of the WWOS.  We all nearly gave it an honorary single-fingered salute as we left, but decided against it.  Mile 20 was 16:40 and 159.  I lobbied for another reduction in the run/walk ratio, and all agreed (not sure if they liked the decision, but we all added another 15 seconds to the walk interval).  The mile 20 split notification came through, and we were still below the 16:00 pace, though barely.  We noticed as we got back on Victory Way, though, was that nobody was entering the WWOS. Street Sweepers were working on cleaning up the course.  Ellie went into a dead panic that we were going to be swept; however, we were in WWOS for 45-50 minutes, so we were still under 16:00; besides, once we got to Hollywood Studios, the chances of being swept were reduced to almost 0.

6 miles and ½ of a marathon to go!

The Finish can be viewed HERE.

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