WDW Half Marathon 2010

As mentioned in my previous post this past weekend my father was signed up for his first half marathon.  His training started out really strong this summer.  We had him up to 8 miles and we were finishing them together strong.  Unfortunately he ended up developing a nagging case of shin splints.  There was a question for a while whether or not he would be participating this weekend, but thanks to a last ditch effort we got two 8 milers under his belt.  This had him ready to approach the start line and attempt the half marathon distance.  His goal was to stay with me as long as he could and then walk the last few miles into the finish.

We arrived early on race day and I hopped out to go join my friends at the “H” tent.  Dad opted to stay in the warm car a little longer.  It was great catching up with my friends but as we got closer and closer to the start of the race I was getting anxious that Dad wasn’t there yet.  Finally he rolled up with his friend Mike and I got us moving on towards the corrals.  We stopped at the port-a-potties and then started the 20 minute walk to the corrals.  At this point it had been snowing for a little while.  People were gathering around the base of the spot lights Disney had brought in to try to keep warm.  Luckily we had trained in this stuff so we were a little more acclimated to the cold.  With us we had the Godfather pacing team – a group with the goal of moving at a steady pace to try to get my father to the finish line.  With us we had Dad, Andi, Steve, Tricia, Crystal and myself. 

As we approached the start line we could hear the national anthem being sung.  We got into our corral just before they counted down the first wave.  A few minutes later we started shuffling our way closer to the start line as the second wave went off.  Then it was our own turn.  We counted down and off we went.  

The first few miles seemed to just fly by.  The slow pace was feeling good on the legs and was leaving me with the confidence I needed to feel like I could actually double the distance the next day.  Dad was looking really strong and seemed to be feeling great as well.  It seemed like time just flew by and then we found ourselves entering the Magic Kingdom.  We found my Mom about half way up Main Street bundled up and looking adorable.  I think it helped calm her nerves that my father looked so strong when she saw him.  Towards the end of Main Street we came upon the ROTEr Rooters which included my running partners.  The time in the park flew by and then we were back on our way towards EPCOT.  This is where the course gets tough because not only are you in the later miles but you are on a stretch of boring highway. 

I could feel Dad falling back away from me and getting quiet shortly after mile 9.  I know myself when I get like this and I don’t really want anyone to talk to me.  So I let him hang back a little and tried to just keep him in my sights.  Unfortunatley he wasn’t dressed in any distinguishing clothing, so shortly after mile 10 I lost him.  I eased off on the pace in hopes that he would catch back up.  At about mile 11.5 there is a sharp turn that takes you onto a ramp leading into EPCOT.  This gave me an oppurtunity to look back along the course.  I spotted my friend Roger by his red ROTE hat and right next to him was Dad.  I could feel the relief wash over me.  Looking at my watch we still had plenty of time so I opted to walk from there to the finish line to give Dad a chance to catch up with me. 

Around mile 12 we were entering EPCOT and came across the ROTE water stop.  I was running to the right but spotted my friends Chris and Mark on the other side of the street so I jogged over there to get some water from them.  We were soon doing the out-and-back on the promenade in EPCOT and I got another glimpse of Dad and got to cheer for him.  As we made our way back stage again I decided to wait for Dad so that I could cross the finish line with him.  He came around the corner and I joined him and Roger and got them to start jogging so that we were running across the finish line. 

As we approached the finish I grabbed Dad’s hand and put his arm up in victory as we crossed the finish line.  I am SO proud of him.  He did awesome for his first half marathon with so much trouble in his training.  I can’t even imagine what he could do with good training behind him, but we should be finding out in September when he runs the Disneyland Half Marathon.  😀

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