I really wanted to start this post with:
I Finished! I Actually Finished!
Unfortunately, I can’t say that. I was swept at Mile 7. For those not familiar with the term swept, it means that I was behind pace, and forced to stop running the race. I wish there was a kinder way to explain it, because it sounds harsh when I read it. But there is no other way to explain it. And I can’t say it feels good to be swept, but all participants go into the race knowing that if they fall behind pace they may possibly be swept. (I was swept at Princess Half Marathon 2013-you can read about the experience here).
Ok, now that I have explained being swept-let us continue with the recap!
The weekend started out at Expo which I wrote about in Princess Training Tales!
Saturday-THE BIG DAY!
She zoomed right to the finish line!
The rest of the day we took it easy. I was starting to get very nervous about running a race with a start time of 10pm. Add to that that my pace was still hovering about 18 minutes a mile, and I was questioning why I had thought this was such a great idea. Then throw in I could not get my mind off possibly being swept, or rather the Balloon Ladies out of my mind, and well I wasn’t in the best place mentally for the race.
Balloon Ladies-for those who have no clue what I am referring to are actually two very nice, sweet women who put fear in the heart of runDisney runners. They carry balloons, and are the last two runners to cross the start line. They keep a 16 mile per minute pace. If you see them while on course you want to make sure you stay with them, or get in front of them, or you run the risk of being swept.
About 7:30pm I headed over with a friend of mine, and her son to Hollywood Studios where the race would start. When I did Princess Half Marathon I was lucky enough to join a group on Facebook that would result in great friendships, and the most supportive group of women. We all met up before heading off to our corrals.
Very soon it was time to head off to the corrals.
By the time we had reached the corrals I had calmed down, and was getting in a better frame of mind. Time moves really quickly once the first corral goes off!
The First 3 Miles-Terrible. I am being honest. All I could think of was being swept, the Balloon Ladies, and that I would never make it to Animal Kingdom which was where we were headed. It did finally dawn on me that whenever I do a long run the first 3 miles are pretty terrible for me. I can only guess that since I am extremely tight jointed it takes the first 3 miles to loosen up.
I made it to Animal Kingdom, and I began to feel better. I hit the 5K (3.1 miles), and a biker passed who told me, and the runners around me, we were a minute and a half ahead of pace. That was the boost I needed. I felt I could do this, really do this!
At the same time I ran into a girl I had had talked with briefly at the beginning of the race. She was struggling, but had a positive attitude. We began talking. She told me not to feel like I had to stay with her. I was conflicted-on the one hand I knew I should use my energy to keep a good pace. But I just couldn’t run off. We continued talking. However once the Balloon Ladies showed up I realized I needed to take off, and try to make up some time. I wished her luck, and took off. For about a mile I stayed with the Balloon Ladies.
I slowed down when I hit the gravel area, and once I did that the Balloon Ladies got more and more ahead. I should have pushed to keep up with them. As I hit the 10K mark (6.2 miles) I had a sinking feeling I would be swept. There was almost no one behind me. There had been a big group behind me just minutes before which meant a sweep had taken place at Mile 6. I also could see big buses in the distance-the buses are used to block off the runners to do the sweep.
At Mile 7 the Tower of Terror 10 Miler was over for me.
I didn’t cry, I didn’t try to run past the buses, I accepted being swept. But I felt so terrible. This time being swept was harder on me than the first time. I started thinking, what if-what if I hadn’t talked with the fellow runner, what if I had pushed, really pushed myself to keep up with the Balloon Ladies after the gravel area, what if? Then I began thinking, why am I doing this? By the time the bus pulled away I had decided I was going to drop out of the Disney Wine and Dine Half. It was hard to think rationally at that moment.
And this is why runners NEED supportive people. I had emailed my parents that I had been swept. They were in Paris so calling was not an option. Since it was morning in Paris my dad emailed me right back saying how proud they were of me, and that I did great.
I then met up with my friend and her son, and I immediately told them I was thinking I should see if I could defer Wine and Dine Half. My friend told me that was beyond ridiculous. Why would I even think of doing that. She told me to think of this run as a training run, and continue with training for the half.
Disney Villains Hollywood Bash
The party was a blast. I had thought I would probably be there till about 2am. No-my friend, her son and I closed the party down at 4am. We had a bite at Backlot Express-where we had a lot of laughs. We then had pictures taken with Darth Vader!
It was definitely a surreal experience to be in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the early morning hours. There was basically no wait for Star Tours, Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror.
By the time I boarded the bus my feelings about Wine and Dine Half had changed. Every runner has a personal goal they try for-mine will be to finish. Even if I am the very last runner to cross the finish line my goal is to make it across the finish line. And yes I am sure I will cry-tears of joy!