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Sunday, January 31, 2016

I Have No Deeper Left to Dig! - Celebration 1/2 Marathon 2016 Race Report


On Saturday, to ensure we arrived at Celebration with plenty of time, we left around noon.  We stopped at the Kangaroo for snackage (I ended up with Gas Station Nachos, a Kit Kat I never got around to eating and a large soda).

The drive was easy and I think we ended up arriving around 3pm.  The expo is small, but easy to get to – got a good parking spot. 

So cool! Truley Nolen still "mouses" it's cars!
That building is where packet pickup is - nice and close
I picked up my packet outside – this year we got a nice sling backpack again. I wish they’d go back to reusable grocery bags, I get more use out of those.

Sling Bag, very boring
Inside, I picked up my shirt as well as a cool towel. 

It fits! And it's from Raw Threads, so it's comfy
HUGE beach towel
With the ‘official’ stuff taken care of, we walked around the rest of the expo. I purchased a few Honey Stingers and a cool pint glass. I also picked up a free water bottle holder from a local vendor.

I think this was about $15?
A neat water bottle harness
Basic plastic water bottle
Buff, pens, bracelets, lip balm, tech towel wipey-things
I still haven't mastered what to do with a Buff
On our way to the hotel, Garmin took us a cool back way on Griffin Road, that was much faster than trying to get there via 192. Thanks Garmin!

This time, we’re staying at Red Lion Inn, on 192, right near the entrance/exit to Disney.  The room was about $80, and it was pretty nice!  King, which was amazing at this price, I think it was a TempurPedic, plus a sofa-bed for the Kiddo.  The bathroom was nicer than others we’ve stayed in and the bathtub was existential (it was deep)!  That’s gonna get some use!

Sofa bed, King Bed (hubby finally gets a nightstand!), desk with Keurig coffee machine
Nice selection of toiletries (and they don't stink, which is nice!)
Ice Bucket and Oh-So-Fancy Plastic Cups
Shaving Mirror and Hair dryer (I always unplug it and charge my phone there)
Existential Bathtub!
We get a couch, a desk chair AND an arm chair with side table
Basic TV, door hides fridge
We unpacked and chilled out for a bit, trying to figure out why my cell phone kept freezing and the battery dying so quickly. It also wasn’t letting me download RaceJoy, the app the race would be using tomorrow.  I tried to move some apps over to my SD card to free up space, but that didn’t work.  We eventually figured it was an app I recently downloaded, so we deleted it and the phone started working much better after that, and I was able to install RaceJoy.

The kiddo wanted a burger, and I wanted steak, so we ended up at TGIFriday’s again.  I went balls to the wall and got the Jack Daniels steak and ribs with French fries and macaroni and cheese.  We found out that our waitress Elysia would be a volunteer at the race, so I said I’d keep an eye out for her. My meal was delicious, except for the mac, which was bland. I’d definitely order it again (but without the mac).

Jack Daniels Flat Iron Steak, Ribs, Fries and Mac & Cheese

Dinner at TGIFriday’s - $47.06 after tax (tip not included)
Two Classic Cheeseburger Meals - $9 each
Jack Daniel’s Flat Iron Steak/Ribs - $20.60
Two Sodas (not for me) - $2.69 each

Back at the hotel, I laid out my race stuff, then crawled into bed to chill. I tweeted for a while, read my book before forcing myself to shut down at 10:3), even though I was still wide awake. Once I did fall asleep, it was fitful… the AC was very loud each time it kicked on.


Now, I gotta be honest here…I’ve not been training as well as I should have.  I knew going into this that this race was going to be hard. I was expecting it. I don’t know if I was expecting it to be this hard, though!

I woke up around 4:45, but didn’t roll out of bed until 5;15ish. I ate some Lucky Charms at this point and started getting dressed. It wasn’t supposed to be very cold today, so I didn’t put on any cold layers, except for my Gasparilla challenge jacket from last year.  It didn’t match, but who cares!

Weather Forecast for the race
After everyone else was up and ready, we headed to Celebration and parked at the Celebration K-8 School, like we do every year. It’s easy to find, we don’t have to argue with traffic and we’re usually one of only a few cars there, so it’s easy to get out of, too.

Yeah, there's a LOT of us!
We walked to the start line, and I lined up with the walkers and other slow folks in the back, while the family headed to the other end of the start line, with the other spectators.  I ate some Sports Beans while waiting for the race to begin. Spied the Queen Mum of Sparkle Skirts in the crowd.

Breakfast of Champions?
See that chick in the skirt? I'm pretty sure that's Leah Powell! I'm not a stalker...
 Garmin on! Nike on! RaceJoy on! Intervals and music on! Once the National Anthem was sung, we were off! I gave a wave to the family as I passed and started slogging through this race.

Florida Mountains
Even though my training has been sucking due to Hubby’s work schedule, I was hoping to just finish.  My longest run was only 6.8 miles on the treadmill. And that was in November!

They stand here every year, to say thank you to us
My first mile is feeling good. I’m doing 1/1 intervals again.  I like doing something multipliable (yeah, that’s a word) because if I want to do 2/1 or 2/2, it’s easy to calculate.

I passed the Mile 1 sign as we headed through neighborhoods. I saw the family, but I wasn’t ready to give up my jacket yet, so I waved as I went past.

Sorry - Blogger isn't playing nice today
About 10 minutes later, I wished I gave them my jacket! (I took it off and tied it around my waist until I got back to them).

I don't think this photo is in order with the others, but I can't remember!
I passed Mile 2 and took my first Honey Stinger – fuel was going to be extra important this time around, since I was highly undertrained. 

11 more to go
We hit the turn-around and came back up the road, passing the water stop that Elysia (from TGIF) was working.

Action Selfie!
Elysia is the cutie in boots (I bet her feet hurt later!)
Made it to Mile 3!

Random spectators in Superhero Onesies
When I saw the family again,  I handed over my jacket, told them to have fun (the walk over to Publix for some breakfast, and to suck up the WiFi), and took off. So far, RaceJoy live tracking is working well for this race!
See those two lonely people waiting on the median? Those are my people!

I came to Mile 4, and this time it was half a package of Honey Stinger Chews.  I also took two puffs on Vlad (the Inhaler).  

Good for you, old guy!  I'm pretty sure I passed him though.
Play "Jump!" Mr DJ Man
Random photo of either spectators or water stop...
This year, there was a change to the course that I didn’t know about (because I don’t pay attention) – rather than run along the main road, past the fire station, we’d run behind the Celebration Hospital. I liked this change, both for the runners (quiet road) and the hospital (the race would otherwise block the ambulances from coming out).  I hope they keep the change.

If you tip your head, you can see it says Mile 4
Going behind Celebration Health
Lots of motivational signage back here
"Strength to endure. Resolve to finish."
I love how many of them were religious in nature.
"The finish line is only the beginning"
We came out near the firehouse and continued on.

I passed the Porta-Pottie of Doom before getting to Celebration Avenue.  If you recall from last year’s race, I pottied here and my Nathan fell into the deep dark blue hole of filth… and because I couldn’t remember if my ID was in the pocket of the Nathan, I had to retrieve it.  It wasn’t in there. I had to run 9 more miles knowing I'd touched Pottie water (I now have wet-wipes in my ArmBand).

This is what I think about you, Pottie!
We turned onto Celebration Avenue, and the long two-mile slog began.

I passed Mile 5, and it was at about this time, I had the super-smart idea to begin running nonstop.  

Ingenuity!  Selling Girl Scout Cookies!
"Completing this is kind of a big deal"

I was still running at Mile 6. And feeling pretty good, actually.

I didn't stop, but I did dance there
Aww, stop, you'll make me blush!
I picked up the last two Vanilla Clif Shots at the fuel stop, but took my Honey Stinger instead.  I walked through the fuel stop, but ran again until I got to Mile 7.

Live band at the DVC Building
"Average Annual Snowfall - 0"
This was a weird house - they used every inflatable they had to tell a "sign story" - I coudln't catch it all with my camera...
BABY (Don't be a baby)   HEART (Put your heart in it)   LEPRECHAUN (There's gold at the end)   All very creative
 At Mile 7, I took a walk break for water, but decided, since it was dry, I could run the boardwalk.  Also, I really didn’t want to get passed by the first marathoner before Mile 8. 

Oh my God, how long have I been running?
Oh, that makes more sense
I love this signage at the end of World Drive
Turning into the Boardwalk area
I passed a few half-marathoners (including neon tank top gal) on the boardwalk and made it to about 7.98 before getting passed by the first marathoner.  Not bad.

Last year, someone cracked her head here; nice to see added warning this year
At Mile 8, I ate the other half bag of chews. Oh, and I’m STILL running at this point! I don’t know what has gotten into me, but I’m doing really well! (Okay, so 4mph isn’t realy “running” to you speedy folks, but you can suck it, it’s running to me).

And there goes the first Marathoner, about 2 hours and 18 minutes into the run
SO CLOSE to making it to Mile 8
Out of the boardwalk area, I slow to a walk for a water stop until Mile 9.

Mile 9 - the Motherfucker Mile
Oh, hell no, we do not WALK the Motherfucker Mile! So I ran some more.

Ingenuity!  Good job, real estate agent!
Using RaceJoy, I got a funny cheer from the family  (I can’t remember which one it was, but I think it was the pirate one where it says “Look at me, I’m FLYING! Oh, wait, no, maybe not.” Whatever one it was, it was a pick-me-up that I needed).

Okay, so, I’m not quite RUNNING the Motherfucker Mile. I decided to do intervals, but oh, it’s bad now.  Everything is hurting, where the fuck is Mile 10??? I’m not stopping until I see that sign!

Oh, thank you Jesus, Mile 10. I can walk now! I took a Honey Stinger gel and tried to get back on track. I planned to walk all of Mile 10, then pick up intervals again for miles 11 to 13. 

Mile 10 is my salvation
Well, my body said otherwise. By the time I got to Mile 11, I was ready to die.

I'm seriously being beaten by an armadillo right now
I attempted to start 1/1 again and felt super crappy.  I ate more chews. I drank some water. Anything to keep me moving. 

(At this point, everything begins to mesh together, so bear with me!).

Hi, I don't care, thanks, bye
At Mile 12, I know I’m close. I’m close enough to hear crowds, but I feel close to death. I give absolutely NO FUCKS at all about this race, and I just want to sit on a bench. 

I don't care how close I am, there's a bench that's closer
Marathon pacers pass me on the left – there goes the 6:50 (3:35 half), there goes the 3:45 half, there go all of my goals.  I just want to finish. 

Hello beautiful Bohemian Hotel. I want to be on your porch. Or in a room sleeping.
I saw a “Dig Deeper” sign – fuck you, sign.  Even my TOES are empty at this point.


You can't NOT be moved when you come around this corner. So much cheering!
Finally, though, it’s towards “Main Street” and the glorious finish. I pass a tiny little “13” sign, round the curve and hope like fuck I can make it in under 4 hours.
No. Fucks. Atall.

By the skin of my teeth, I finished, upright, at 3:55:45.  Is that my best time? Not in the slightest.  Am I happy with it? Oh, fuck yeah!



My 10k split was 1:44:42, and my 15k split was 2:39:31, very close to Gasparilla PR time. But man, things went downhill after that 15k time!

I beat a total of 59 people.  I came in 185th out of 192 females in my age group.  I was the 1182nd female to finish (out of 1231).  The last half-marathoner finished at 4:55:39, about a full hour after me.

I’m so ready to cry right now, I got my medal and my weird Tyvek type jacket and hobbled over to the side of the chute. 

I look a lot better than I feel right now (and where did those beads come from?!?)
I saw some friendly faces, once I began to calm down. Liz, a runDisney volunteer, was volunteering here as well.  I also saw Betty, who finished about 30 minutes before me at 3:29:17.

I picked up a water and some Clif Bars then hobbled over to my family, who helped me hobble over to an empty table so I could sit and decompress. I was trying really hard not to cry the whole time. Was it pain? Was it frustration? I don’t know. I think it was both.  I peeled off my shoes and put on my flip-flops while describing my run to the family.  I cleaned out my skirt pockets and threw it in my run bag. My ankles, I think, were the worst. They felt like there was glass in my joints and every time I put weight on them, they were grinding together. It was terrible!

I got my food card and we began walking around. It was already past 11 am!  I got a Natalie’s Virgin Mimosa (just OJ), a slice of pizza, some bread, cookies, and grits with bacon jam. (The kiddo was NOT impressed with the grits and bacon jam!).

We headed back to the hotel, which had allowed us late check-out, so that I could take an ice bath.  The room keys had already been deactivated, so hubby ran to the front office, explained our situation and had the keys fixed. He said the front desk said we could stay as long as we needed to (within reason, obviously), and to leave the keys on the desk when we left. 

I didn’t want to be here for hours, so I skipped the ice bath and took a 15 minute hot soak in the existential bath tub. (I didn’t want to get out, it was so nice and deep!).

While I was in the tub, the family packed up the room, and when I was done, we were done and ready to boogie.  Thank you, Red Lion Front Desk Staff!

We drove over to the Beach Club and parked. I, of course, had to potty! Then we checked in at Beaches & Cream for our reservation.  We had to wait almost 15 minutes past our reservation time. But, it’s a popular place, so it’s understandable.

My medal matches the plates!
We even got seated at the same table we got last year!

Hmmm, what do I want?
I joked with the family that I kinda wanted French fries, but we all just got sundaes.

Last year, I got a Milky Way sundae, but I wasn’t THAT hungry this time, so I went with a two-scoop vanilla sundae with caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Two scoops, caramel sauce, whip cream and a medal
Hubby got the same, with chocolate and peanut butter sauce, no whip.

Two scoops, peanut butter sauce, no whip (loser) - iPod 5th Gen for scale
The Kiddo got the same, with chocolate and hot fudge, no whip.

Jokingly, I told the waitress that I’d take all of their whipped cream (I make that joke a lot).

With the restaurant being so small, you can see behind the counter and watch the staff make the food.  I saw that our waitress was working on our sundaes, and I just fell in love with my waitress – she was actually attempting to give me this HUGE topper of whipped cream. Unfortunately, it was very messy, and she ended up remaking the sundae (which made me feel bad – it’s a waste of food that wouldn’t have gone to waste if I’d not joked about the extra whip).

She brought our sundaes and took our photo for us, and then I went to town on that ice cream!

You can tell I'm feeling MUCH better at this point!
After we paid and left, we sat outside and debated what we wanted to do. We thought about going to Epcot, but realized that we’d left our Magic Bands in the car, and I really didn’t feel like walking back to the car to get them, then walking back to catch the boat.  Hubby wanted to go to a park, but the Kiddo and I overruled him – we were both too tired.  He was kind of bummed, but got over it.

Dessert (lunch) at Beaches & Cream - $25.94 after tax (tip not included)
Three 2-Scoop Sundaes - $5.99 Each
Two Sodas (none for me) - $3.19 Each

We hit up the WaWa for road food, then decided, what the hell – we drove over to McDonald’s and got 3 large fries!

Snacks at WaWa $17.59 (after tax), plus gas
Meat Cup (x3) - $2.79 each
Chex Mix (Annie) - $1.69
Borden White Milk (Ann) - $1.49
Herr’s Chips (Amy)- $1
Herr’s Cheese Curls (Amy) - $1
SC & O Chips (J)- $1.49
Soda (A / J) - $1.19 each

We got back home around 5ish and unpacked (lovely Hubby did most of it).  I hit the bed by 5:30 (really!) and twittered, futzed around on my iPod and watched TV.  I was probably asleep by 8pm! (Good thing I took tomorrow off – I need more recovery time!)

Location: Celebration FL
Host: (Who put on the race) Town of Celebration
Race Fee: $70 (ROTE Promo Code saved me $10) – Fee goes up to $100 the week of the race
Packet Pickup: Day before, at Expo – super easy
Parking: Always crowded – we park at the Celebration School, about 5 blocks away
Support: (on-course) Amazing! 10 Water stops, all with Gatorade; Clif Shots, oranges and bananas at around Mile 6
After Party: Getting better than the first 2 years.  Virgin Mimosas!