Thursday, May 8, 2008

2008 Minnie Marathon 15K

Background:

This year was the third running of the Minnie Marathon 15K (and my second year at the event). It was also the final year as Disney Sports has decided to replace this race with a Princess Half Marathon in early March next year instead. You could tell that they were really pushing the Princess Half on you and it felt that there wasn't a lot of effort put into this race - at the expo Cinderella and Prince Charming were there, but not Minnie Mouse. Apart from a jacket and a cotton t-shirt there was no Minnie Marathon race specific merchandise to buy. The race shirts look exactly like last year's (except cut way smaller and in cheaper fabric). Announcements about the Princess Half were made continuously at the start of the races. Sigh...I know I'm sounding bitter, but I'll miss the Minnie 15K. Last year the 15K represented the first race over a 10K that I trained diligently for and completed. Last year my mom came with me to Florida, completed her first race ever at the 5K the day before, then she cheered me on at the finish line for the 15K. We were both keen to go back for the race this year, and this year she would also complete the 5K and 15K as well.

The race:

I went into this race without a specific goal, I just hoped to beat my time of 1:45:06 from last year. My mom and I were up early and my dad dropped us off at the Animal Kingdom parking lot before they were going to close the road at 5:45. I ran into some friends at the start line and we all chatted away and I squeezed in a couple trips to the porta potties before it was time to line up for the start. The starting corral was self-seeded again and I made my way through to the front of the 9:00 - 11:00 mile group again. Just before 6:15 am Minnie Mouse counted us down, some fireworks went off and we were running. The 15K route is the same as the final 9.3 mi of the full marathon. You get to see if from a different perspective though as you run this on fresh legs. I took off from the start line at a relatively easy pace. Once we were out of the Animal Kingdom parking lot my silly shins started to announce their presence. I eased up, took a walk break and tried to keep going. All of a sudden negative thoughts were in my head. I was cursing my painful shins and wondering how in the world I'm going to start training for a full marathon again if I can't get past this. I was running straight into my own little pity party. Somewhere around 2.75 mi in we were approaching an overpass. I was almost due for a walk break and boy was I looking forward to it. A little voice in my head told me to make this overpass the defining moment for the race - skip the walk break for now and just run up the hill. I charged the overpass and it was just what I needed to break out of my funk. My legs were feeling fine now and like they were getting into a groove. Before I knew it I was at the out and back section of the course - and then I hit the turn around for the out and back way faster than I expected. Just as I was about to turn off the out and back and head up another overpass I saw my mom on the other side of the road entering the out and back herself. She recognized me and we waved excitedly to each other. It was such a great boost! I ran up the overpass and passed a few folks walking it. On my way down I was feeling great and I completely forgot about taking any walk breaks and I started clocking some sub-10:00 miles. Before I knew it I was already at the entrance to Hollywood Studios. I caught up with a few friends at this point - we cheered each other on and I was ready to keep flying through the park. At the exit we hit a water stop and I took a minute to get a drink and attempt to chew some Sport Beans. Apparently I tried to do too many things at once as I started coughing on the beans...yuck. We were now running the pathway between Hollywood Studios, the Boardwalk and Epcot. We passed a few folks out for their morning run, but otherwise it was pretty quiet. Then...the highlight...we entered Epcot at the United Kingdom in World Showcase. The pub in the UK is actually right at the 8 mile mark. They had the party lights flashing and the dance music playing. I ran through World Showcase, past Spaceship Earth high-fiving cast members and out into the parking lot and across the finish line. When I was running the Boardwalk I knew I had a good shot at PR'ing but I tried not to think too much about where I thought I'd finish at, I just wanted to run. When the final results were posted I was ecstatic - I'd cut off 5:07 from last year!

Final numbers:

Distance: 15K
Clock Time 1:40:26
Chip Time 1:39:59 (10:28/mi) - PR!
Overall Place 937/2632
Gender Place 847/2425
Division Place 123/341

5 comments:

Leah said...

Congratulations on the PR - GREAT TIME! And a good story about pushing through too.

holowahini said...

That's awesome! Way to go!

It did feel like they were pushing the Princess more than the race we were actually at. :( But if you read my blog you can tell they suckered me into it somehow!

Angry Runner said...

As you well know, that stretch of course was not hospitable a few months ago. I would probably have flashbacks had I run that race...

Yay on the PR!

Scott said...

Just wanted to say congrats again on the PR!! (and yes, there is a full bar across from the entrance to the Backlot tour ;) )

audgepodge said...

Hi Leana, it was nice to finally meet - congrats again on your PR! And I agree, the 15K shirts were kinda small.