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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

WDW Marathon

I have been wanting to write this post since the minute I finished running yesterday....there were so many GREAT moments over the past few days....and I don't want to forget one of them. This post may be scattered but its one of the ones where I need to type things quickly so that I don't forget.

I must say first that I am really sad that this post won't be read by Nana Harvell...she always made me feel like this blog was something she thoroughly enjoyed and there were some days that she was the only thing motivating me to write down our memories.......We sure do miss you!!

Friday was a hot mess as DFW experienced snow and icy temperatures. My stomach was in knots and my day was out of whack as I left school to grab Adam and Goober from the aiport that morning. Carrie and I were supposed to fly out at 6...but our plane didn't take off until 8 (missing flight attendant, mechanic needed for door, de-ice the wings)...and then we lost an hour in Florida, meaning we didn't walk into our hotel room until midnight. We had planned ahead though and ate our roasted sweet potatoes and baked chicken on the plane. When we got to the hotel, our director for Give Kids the World was there asking about us and handed us goody bags that had shirts, shoelaces, hats, stickers, bracelets and other things that got us pumped!! We quickly got into bed and made no plans to wake up early!!!

BUT, we couldn't sleep past 6:15....we were so excited! We were so organized for this trip (THANKS CARRIE) and had our banana and trail mix for breakfast and started looking at weather for the next day. It was going to be 30 degrees with a 13/14 mph wind at the start of our race. Carrie and I are both COLD WEATHER HATERS....ask my husband, I am pretty sure I get mean and stay mean for all of winter! We were so glad that we each packed cold weather options but the wind threw us...there is nothing worse than running in wind...even rain is better..in fact our last 13.1 training run had been in rain and it was fine!! We headed to the Race Expo at the ESPN center to get our bibs and grab some gloves for Carrie and a thicker jacket for me!

However, on the way to get on the Disney Buses we heard someone say " are you running for Team Collins?"...SHOCKED, we turned around and immediately reality set in. Initially when Kim,  Collins mom was going to run the 10K she was going to do it with Kelly, who lost her son Collin (kids had almost the exact same name, weird right?) to cancer...they had met at Give Kids the World when they were both granted a Disney vacation. Unfortuantely, Collin passed away last year and there is a permanent start at Disney for him. Kelly was so happy to be back and run in his honor..she talked about him with great joy and how her husband said he couldn't come back to Disney just yet...he needed more time. Carrie and I were in tears and so happy that she spotted us...she said she recognized us from a post that Kim put on social media....I mean what a GOD THING...she found us in all of WDW!!! We took a picture with Kelly and sent it to Kim and Collins to show them that we were all still a team!!!! From that point on this marathon became an emotional one...it was already mentally and physically tough but we found ourselves in tears multiple times as we talked about how grateful we were for our kids health. We talked about how brave and strong the parents are of kids who have cancer, who live in fear day to day and who watch their kids battle.

We got to the Expo and the temperature began to PLUMMET...it was a little freaky and we were all kinds of nervous for the race. We laughed and laughed as we headed to get our bibs and there was NO LINE....when you register as late as we did you can't select your corral or pace...you are last. So out of all 17,729 people we started with only about 50 people behind us. We were severely discouraged by this but reminded ourselves that we were not there to PR or win..just finish!! At the expo we bought some warmer clothes and a race shirt that has Mickey on it and says I DID IT...on the back is the map of the race. We also looked at a ton of fitness tents and talked to people about some new running products. We then noticed that several characters were outside...and since we didn't want to stop and take pictures with characters on the race we ran and got in line ...we met Goofy, Minnie, Pluto and Mickey. We treated ourselves to a giant Wentzel Pretzel (for free) for lunch (and a larabar) as we needed some salt and carbs...we don't believe in carb loading but a few extra carbs and lots of salt the day before a marathon is highly recommended! We went back to the resort and immediately got on the bus to go to Downtown Disney as were looking for great souvenirs (the biggest Disney store on the planet) and we wanted SOME good HEALTHY food for dinner that night!!!

At Downtown Disney we went straight to UnderArmor, who was making bank off of all the runners...they were sold out of gloves and head gear and it was PACKED! Plus, they gave all racers 20% off everything. We bought our boys and husbands some souvenirs there and then headed to the Disney store. We were SO CAPTIVATED by that store and could have spent a fortune. I knew right away that my two littles would want a Maui and HeiHei doll from the new movie Moani and that my Goober would want the big Mickey Jawbreaker. From there we stopped at about 8 (not kidding) restaurants and read their menu to find the perfect protein. We found it at Wolf Gang Pucks and paid an ungodly amount of money for a half rotisserie chicken to go! We got home, ate our chicken and roasted sweet potatoes (that we brought from home) in our beds and face timed with our family! We laid out everything, tried some stuff on, attached our bibs, packed our luggage and set our alarms for 3:15 and went to bed.

We didn't need the alarms to wake us up though. I was up at 2:15 going potty (we made sure we DRANK a ton of water and electrolytes on Saturday) and laid in bed and PRAYED until 2:45, when Carrie stirred. We got dressed, nervously chatted, packed our luggage and headed to the buses. We had to check out before the race even started since we wouldn't be back before check out time. So the bellhop graciously put our luggage in a locked cage until we got back. We boarded the bus (Disney was so organized with travel, race expo, signs, communication) and headed to Epcot. THE BUS WAS A SAUNA. I know they were trying to make up for the 30 degree weather and high winds outside but everyone on there had at least 3 layers on and we were sweating!!!!! I remember listening to a few conversations on the way there and one guy said he had run 14 Disney Marathons and this was the coldest ever! Another guy said he had only run a 5k to prepare for this...OW!

We got off the bus and headed to check our gear...again Disney was super prepared and had tent where each runner could leave a bag. Carrie and I had done our research and knew to wear a pair of sweats over our racing gear that we could just toss to the side and never miss. We also knew to bring dry clothes to put on after the race since we would be cold and sweaty. We also brought hand warmers, bananas, water with electrolytes, sunglasses, Clif bloks and larabars for the race, chapstick and GUM. Carrie and I always chew gum during the first part of our long runs. We checked everything but what we needed for the race and headed to THE TOUGHEST PART OF OUR WHOLE WEEKEND...the WAIT! Like I said we were in the last corral and started an hour after the first corral. Therefore we stood in 30 degree weather with 13/14 mph wind for 2 hours!!!!!!! We cuddled with people we had never met and talked about the insane weather. We met people from Pennsylvania, New York, Saudi Arabia....people who had run the same marathon at Disney Paris, people who were running only 13.1 of the marathon and then getting on a bus, people who were running but had plans to stop and ride Mount Everest before the parks opened to the public (we saw this happen).  We laughed and laughed when the DJ, who was really trying to keep our spirits up, said into the microphone "I can't feel my laptop"...HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. We ducked down to dodge the wind and talked about how we couldn't feel our toes...and then we were at the starting line. The fireworks went off, they go off at the start for each corral and we were out.

The whole race we jockeyed back and forth for a spot to run....we thought it would only be for the first mile or 2 but I can say with all honesty that it was the whole race, we even jockeyed for a spot at the finish line. That alone was exhausting and it ended up adding. .6 miles onto our race....I recorded  it on my Garmin and when we crossed the finish line we were at 26.8 miles!!!!! We passed people who were walking from the get go, we stepped over several blankets and trash bags that people had held to keep warm but then threw them down...you are supposed to thrown them to the sides. The WHOLE first mile of the race looked like a scene from an apocalypse movie...where the people disappear and there are piles of clothes on the ground. We shed our sweatpants when we moved to the front corral right before the race but kept our sweatshirts on until mile 6/7 when the sun came out. I used my sweatshirt as a snot rag more than anything. We saw clothes on the sides of the race for all 26.2 miles...even some at mile 25. I will say that I wanted to shed my top layer and tie it around my waist at least once or twice but the minute I thought about it the wind would pick back up and I would change my mind. I was so thankful for EVERYTHING I had on me. I wore a 32 degree thermal, from my mother in law, as my first layer.....my Team Collins tank on top of that and then the jacket I bought at the race Expo on top..it was lined and had another pocket. It also had a high neck and thumb holes...I mean it was perfect! I took off my gloves sometime right before 13.1 and attached to those my belt. I wore my sunglasses for 3/4 of the race. I finished my water bottle around mile 12 and took a water from the water stations at every other stop after that. I ate 3 of my 6 bloks during the race and had a banana before and after the race. I loved that I brought my chapstick too...it may be a little thing but my lips took a beating and it was one more creature comfort.

We told ourselves that we would stop, take pictures and enjoy the race..but only if we wanted to. We took a picture right before the race started.... at Cinderellas castle....with the characters from Frozen in the background, at the Tree of Life,...the other ones we didn't stop to take, just took as we ran. A lot of people stopped to take pictures with characters a long the way and I can see the fun in that...but there weren't any that we HAD to see and it was so helpful that we took pictures the day before with the main characters at the race expo.

Some memories while running are....
1-the jockeying between people...Carrie is about 5 inches shorter than me and could slip through the crowds...I would follow her and got elbowed QUITE a bit....we laughed and laughed about that as i said "sorry" about 5000 times.

2-We saw soooo many great costumes, I mean people were dedicated! We saw outfits that had to make those runners cold too...
    -we saw two men who were genies...one was the blue genie and one was the red genie from Aladdin. They had on pants and then the rest of their body was painted!!! They really did look like the genies though
   -we saw lots of men in princess dresses and some of them had signs on letting us know that they were wearing it for their daughters or wives OR because they lost a bet :)
   -we saw lots of cute pairs like tinker bell and peter pan, dory and nemo, woody and buzz lightyear, Pooh and Eeyore
  -we saw lots of people who were running in their pjs as that was the only warm clothes that they had packed
    -we saw lots of questionable outfits too....I don't know why you need to wear undergarments on the outside ...maybe to mimic "The Incredibles" but it didn't look comfortable or modest :)
  -I remember telling Carrie that I thought the best costume was the Goofy in jail outfit. There was a guy in striped pants and shirt, with the goofy ears and hat and he was carrying a ball with a chain attached to his ankle. He had on a bookbag with an axe and dopey doll too...it was fantastic!!!!

3-There was a group of runners there on a team called Run 413 and they had verses on the back of their neon yellow shirts. It seemed like every time I would mentally hit a wall one of them would be in front of me to motivate me!

4-A man yelled out to me at mile 21/22 "keep the smile, not to many people are still smiling"...I loved that motivation...little did he know my face was frozen that way!

5-SOOOO many fans and in that COLD weather...we thanked them and gave them high fives. A lot of them were handing out food and water. There was homemade cookies, pretzels, twizzlers, chocolate, peppermints, bananas, clif bars, Gus and oranges. I took a peppermint and a bag of M&M's....i ate the peppermint immediately and lost the M&Ms somewhere a long the way!!

6-One sign that we both cracked up at was "Smile if you aren't wearing underwear "....hahahahahhahah, we both smiled because its hard not to!!!!!!!!!!

7-All the kids who gave high fives and cheered for us, all the people who yelled out "you are awesome", "you are my hero", "you are almost there", "don't give up"!

8-One of my favorite signs said "One day you won't be able to run anymore, today is NOT that day"!!!

I personally learned a lot about myself during this run...a lot of it was told to me by Carrie. At one point I could sense she was fading..she told me she was starting to get a cramp. I said "ok, storytime"...I told her stories until we got into another park and we were once again distracted by the parks and people. When we got to another place between parks I started telling life stories again...when I finished I said "ok tell me how you first met your husband"....she looked at me and said " you are sooooo good at this, you are a self motiavater"...then she said "I don't have the energy to talk right now"...Sooo, I did :). I learned that I am a self motivater...I am a goal setter and I like to finish what I start. I am proud of that, but also realize that I am hard on others who need outside motivation to reach their goals. In this case though, it was a good thing :).

I also learned that I am compassionate....stay with me. I never score high on those spiritual gifts test. I have a hard time feeling sorry for others....especially when I think that they are reaping what they have sewn. Its an awful character trait. BUT, I am telling you that there were several points of that race that Carrie and I talked about how grateful we were for our healthy children, how proud we were of Collins and her parents, of Kelly and her husband who lost their son Collin, how strong we needed to be for our friends and family who can't run....like Carrie's sister in law, and our co-worker with breast cancer. We choked up several times and ran for those people! At another point Carrie got a bad cramp and told me to "go without me, finish fast"...I ABSOLUTELY denied her and said " I started with you, I am ending with you, I will carry you". I was dead set on finishing as a team and I would have walked all 26.2 miles with Carrie if we needed to....and that kinda uncompetitive compassion is not normal for me!

As we got close we told each other "we got this", "we are going to finish", "we are Team Collins", "we are strong" several times. I am telling you that we thought we had missed the mile 25 marker...that was the longest mile ever...I MEAN EVER...people kept saying how close we were to finishing and we just KEPT RUNNING!!!! As we got close to the end we could hear people cheering and when we saw the finish line Carrie and I grabbed hands, pushed through several other people to finish together and then HUGGED and CRIED and realized that it was all over and that we couldn't feel our bodies and the parts we could feel HURT!!!!!
We stopped, took a picture with the finish line behind us, got wrapped in foil blankets by the nicest volunteer who told us how proud he was of us, how fashionable the blankets were and that if we kept walking we would get our medals. We both got medals and headed to get our official marathon picture with our bibs, team collins shirts and medals. We kept crying and laughing and talking. We got our snack box from Disney (that was disappointing-gross chips and cheese dip, oreos....a lot of processed things)....but we did grab water and bananas too.

Fortunately our bus was there waiting to take us back to the resort....that was a miracle as we read that sometimes there was a long wait...We took off our wet clothes and put on something dry for the ride back. We were both immediately cramping and Carrie emptied her belongings into my bag so she would have a barf bag ready. It got REAL PAINFUL, real quick. We were emotional wrecks and we were both getting tons of texts as people who were tracking us called or texted to congratulate us.

We got back to our resort and since we had already checked out we headed to the bathroom to make ourselves somewhat presentable for the plane ride home. The bathroom was sooo warm and I wanted to lay on the tile and sleep....how gross is that? BUT, we washed off in the sinks, put on new clothes, lots of deodorant and headed back out to get on the bus for the airport. That is when I felt sick as a dog..I think it happened as I went from hot to cold, hot to cold, AND had no food but bananas. We both kept a tight grip on the barf bag the whole way there. I think what helped was that I drank a water bottle filled with Nuun on the way to airport and that filled me up and got a little sugar in my system.

We went through security at record time, for how packed it was, and headed straight to our gate. We found it, confirmed our seats (we weren't together) and then dashed to get FOOD! We went to Ruby Tuesday at our gate and I am telling you that if I had to wait one more second to go the salad bar I would have passed out. I got a big salad with lots of protein and a chicken breast and ATE IT ALL...I also chugged water with lemon. I also made Carrie and I pills with Deep blue, Lemongrass Frank and peppermint. We sat there and talked and went over the race and really took our time. We got back to our gate and boarded right on time.

The flight back was forgettable...I was glad to have an aisle seat and stretched and rubbed my legs the whole time...my rear was on fire. I didn't have headphones so I did a sudoku puzzle, and then played games on the tv....I also went through my pictures and stared at my kids and husband as I couldn't wait to see them! We proudly wore our long sleeve race shirts home and medals and everyone at the airport and on the plane told us congrats!!!! The flight attendant was stumped that I didn't want food or drink after the race but I had my own trail mix and water with lemon for the ride home and was finally feeling well!!!OH and Carrot Top, the comedian was on our flight. He greeted some passengers and looked like he had a ton of make up on!

We got off the flight and I was soooo thankful to see my minivan full of my loves right outside the door. They ran to me, hugged me, grabbed my medal and started asking tons of questions. Carrie and I hugged and we went our separate ways. I got home, ate CANTALOUPE (I was craving it and texted Adam to please buy me some!!!) and went to bed.

I woke up feeling stiff this morning, but nothing like I have felt after my other marathons. I mean I feel good, I don't want to jinx tomorrow though. I have been taking my oil pills every 4 hours and I went and got a massage this morning...she also did cupping on me which felt weird but I swear pulled the tightness out of my calves. I am SOOOO HUNGRY and fell asleep twice during my massage. Other than that though I am fine...I am still very emotional about the race and just thinking about it brings tears. Carrie and I talked for about 30 minutes this morning, about how our bodies felt and just recapping the race. We both agreed we have NO REGRETS about it.....that we don't want to run another marathon ;)......and if it wasn't for that weather it would have been perfect!!

To make things better we finished 3855 out of 17,729.........I am so proud of us!!!
GO TEAM COLLINS!!!


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