After finishing 5 marathons in 4 weeks, and knowing you have another marathon five weeks from then, what do you do? You recover and train for a couple of weeks, right? You wouldn't not run for 3 weeks (or barely run), and do 11 milers as your long run, right? Because that's what I did! Ugh.
Seriously, after Space Coast, I recovered from the multiple marathons and thought I would be able to pick the training up on Week 3, but I did not count on having two severely ill kitties that needed to be forced fed four times a day, and I did not count on working 70-80 hour weeks during the holidays. The truth is, I really did not have much time to run and when I did, I was so exhausted I just did not have the mojo to run. And then, all of a sudden, race week was here. The nerve!
Now that my kitties are doing better and that I have a surgery date, my mojo has returned and the last runs have gone great. I just did not have time to run much and had to rely on my year of consistent running and good mileage for this race. And, although I love to do events for fun, I always run until I cannot run any more. That strategy does not work when you have what I have. So, during the last 5 marathons with the pain, I created a strategy that has worked for me. I was supposed to start the strategy at Disney since Mile 1. And of course I did not and waited until Mile 6 to do so.
We arrived in Orlando at 2:45pm for an expo that closed at 4pm. Our start was so great! After the expo, we went to have lunch (at 4:30pm, mind you) at our favorite Puerto Rican place. And after eating this:
And having a beer (the other one is hubby's), I felt much better. We proceeded to go shopping at the best outlet mall in the US (after all, having the only Lululemon outlet store in the US qualifies you for that, the end). Got back to hotel in the middle of a hurricane (normal rain for Miami), went to dinner at Raglan Road, had another beer and food while watching the Irish show:
And went to bed at 11:30pm to be promptly awaken by a nurse calling hubby (he was on call all weekend). Woke up at 3:30am and got on the bus at 3:50am. For some reason, this year the buses took forever and after spending 40 minutes on the bus, I barely made it into the corral with 10 minutes to spare. Before heading there, I met two forumites from the RWOL Turtles group and at the potty line (social network central), I met Sam from the RWOL Daily Runner group.
As I said, my strategy of running 0.90, walking 0.10 (or the water stations) helped my pain remain at bay not only on race day but during the days after. I have come to find that if I want to run painless, I should do it from the beginning. And of course, I did not.
Miles 1-6 - The first miles are in the dark and went by pretty fast. I run at my usual warm up pace and felt fine. I did not stop at all during these miles except to get some dust or debris out of my shoe at Mile 3 and to take a picture of the Disney castle (for more information as to what is what and where we ran, read Lurch's RR because I am not good with names and I am not a Disney fan). Otherwise, everything went well. Perfect weather, not humid, cool of 60F and the highest I got was 63F.
Splits: 11:02, 10:39, 11:08, 10:42, 11:32.
At Mile 5, I started feeling the pain and I knew I have to start with my strategy now, so I did start at Mile 6.
Miles 7-12 went well, and we headed towards the Speedway, then we head to the water treatment plant towards Animal Kingdom. I stopped to take a couple of pictures from the cars and after that, spent some miles stopping for character pictures and to fix my Hokas which kept getting debris inside them (I was running on the grass some times to pass others).
Splits: 11:31 (gel break), 11:41 (picture stop), 11:22 (picture stop), 10:51, 10:56, 11:12.
Pictures taken throughout these miles:
Miles 13-18 had us through Animal Kingdom and the highways. It was the toughest part of the race as Lurch mentioned in his RR, mostly because the sun was out and there is no shade (I am used to no shade in Miami but still the sun drains you of energy). My pain was at bay but it kept creeping up as the miles went on. I took it easy between miles 16 and 18 because of the bridges and the hilliest portion of the race (before the bigger "hill" at around mile 21-22. Since the pain was creeping up, I started with strategy # 2, which is 0.85 run/0.15 walk.
Splits: 11:24, 12:11 (gel break), 11:16, 12:08 (shoe debris), 12:52 (medical tent stop for vaseline), 11:20.
No pictures were taken during these miles.
Miles 19-23 had us going into the ESPN Wide World of Sports, out, and then head to Hollywood Studios. I took a lot more pictures during these miles so the pace dropped. I still fell the pain was under control but continued my strategy and in fact, added a full 0.20 break throughout the mile if needed.
Splits: 11:40, 13:38 (photo stop), 11:41, 13:08 (photo stop), 13:08 (photo stop).
Pictures taken during these miles:
Miles 24-26.84 passed quickly. I texted hubby telling him I was at Mile 24 and to get to the finish line when he could and proceeded to run towards Epcot via the Swan hotel and the riverwalk. Having done this course three times already I know where I am supposed to be and when. Since I stopped a lot for pictures, the paces were slow as well.
Splits: 11:45, 12:38, 10:08.
And I was done! Hubby saw me finishing but couldn't take a picture because the area is full of people. I was surprised that with all my stops, I came in faster than NYCM in November. And since the pain started, this is my second fastest marathon this season. I was really expecting to do way slower, so I'm happy. Until surgery, I won't know how fast or slow I am. I cannot wait to get back at it post surgery.
Now off to recover and eat (and run) because I do this again next week. Just because I am getting surgery does not mean I shall stay on the couch and mope the loss of my uterus.