“Nothing is more certain than the defeat of a man who gives up.”
Mother Nature surprised us with temperatures in the high 20’s°F one day before the race and on January 10, 2010 – the race day. Nevertheless, it did not disrupt our excitement for packet pickup day. We thought we had everything ready; however, due to the unlike cold weather (in Florida at least), we had to stop by Sports Authority to get some proper clothing for the 24°F degree morning of the race.
We got up at 3:00 a.m. and we were ready to go. The race was scheduled to begin exactly at 5:40 a.m. As a marathon apprentice, we went by the rules set by Disney which stated to arrive at the park at least 20 minutes prior to the race starting time to give us time to park. As we approach the park, the line of cars to access the parking lot ended in “BFE”. It took us about 45 minutes just to get into the parking lot.
By the time we parked, the race had already started. As we ran towards the corral, we were prohibited access along with a group of runners who also had issues parking. We waited for about 10 minutes for instructions only to have the security crew to inform us that we could not access that particular gate because the race had already started and runners were about to cross the path. The group went ballistic as we head out backwards to find a new access to the starting line. At this point, there was no guarantee that our time would be clocked. We ran back-and-forth from one gate to the other for almost 1 mile before we officially crossed the starting line and our time was recorded. Our chip time counted 30 minutes after the race had officially started.
Running in 24 degree weather (early morning then increase to 27°F) was something that we did not prepare for since we trained during spring, summer and fall. Dehydration was attacking us in the early stage of the race due to Disney providing us with literally frozen water. The weather was so cold that every cup of water placed on the water station table froze. Kurt was cramping badly early into the race and I was suffering from bladder cramping. For every step taken, a sharp pain went through my bladder. The urge to use the bathroom was unsatisfying, and most of the times, there was nothing to be released. Our early muscle cramping slowed us down a bit, but my bathroom breaks were the killer of time. I had a total of 7 bathroom breaks, losing approximately 1 hour of our race time.
If I had to choose among calves, quads or hamstring muscle cramping and bladder cramping, I would not know which one would be more “pleasant” to suffer from. By mile 12, Kurt was running on a roller coaster of emotions. His eyes were watering – not sure if it was because of the cold air or if it was from an overwhelming set of emotions for pushing his body to its limit. I remember telling to him to be strong, and that no matter what, we would finish this race.
Pausing for a quick picture with Raffiki and Mickey was a blast as it distracted us from the pain – at least for a few minutes. Also, seeing our friend, Trish, half-way through the race was very motivating. We were very appreciative of her efforts to support us and for pet-sitting our R2-D2.
By mile 21, it was my turn to run on a roller coaster of emotions as tears came down from my eyes. It was in that moment that reality hit me for the magnitude of the accomplishment I was about to conquer and for the pain I was experiencing. At the 24-mile marker, we expressed a happy face as we paused for a picture by the giant mile marker. And we restarted the run, we expressed a sad face due to knee pain, bladder pain, headache, back pain, you name it!
At mile 26, the excitement was back again. However, the remaining .2 mile looked like it was never approaching. As we saw the finish line, we felt so much joy. We sped up the pace to cross the finish line holding hands at 6:46:39.
Joy and pain was so present to us. Nevertheless, our positive attitude, determination, and understanding of each other’s discomfort kept us going all the way. Looking at our Mickey Medal felt very satisfying. Sign us up. We will run a marathon again.