Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tower of Terror Ten Miler 2012....CONQUERED!! part 2

Beautiful day at
Magic Kingdom
So where were we? Ah, yes, race day! Of course that morning we went to Magic Kingdom! I had a plan. I would hydrate like crazy and sit whenever possible in the lines. Thank goodness the park was fairly empty. Would have been a fantastic day to play until I dropped but I had a race to do. I did however proudly wear my ToT race shirt. To me it said "Yeah, that's right! I am a runner." It also showed how dumb I was to forget... NEVER wear black in the Florida sun. 
If this hat were not so heavy
I would have added it
to my costume!

Because my costume for the race was the Cheshire cat I had to keep an eye out for anything CheshireInstead of buying the Tower of Terror pin I decided to buy the Cheshire cat pin for my medal. I thought it was the best way to commemorate what I had worn this day.I was VERY tempted to buy this hat for the race. It was heavy! So back onto the shelf it went. Sadness. 

After we had played (until I knew it would catch up to me if we didn't stop) we rode the bus back to the hotel. There I took a pre-race nap because I had gotten a heat migraine. shirt + Florida sun = heat migraine. Hesitantly I downed some Excedrin Migraine pills and hit the sack. Two hours! It felt sooooo good. Headache was gone and I was ready for eating dinner. A tiny bit of salmon (it was not good), mashed potatoes, and corn. Ummm...I didn't know what else to eat. I couldn't think straight and these choices seemed the lightest. I had five hours until I would be running so I felt like I would be okay.

Check out the line for the
port-o-potties. Glad my issues
happened at the hotel.
The family left me at the hotel to go play some more in the parks. I laid out everything I was taking with me to the race. Looked good. Turned on the t.v.. Looked at the clock for the time. Half an hour until I needed to shower. Watched t.v.. Looked at the clock. Watched t.v.. Looked at the clock. Okay, I can't do this anymore. Shower time. Showered, dressed, and then had tummy issues. I fully believe it was nerves. Remember, this was my first long race and I was terrified I would get swept. I had trained for this and didn't want to fail. I finally calmed myself down and watched "Lady and the Tramp" until it was time to leave. Even after all of these years I still hate those stupid cats. Looking at the clock I saw it was time to catch the bus.

Description for those hesitant to watch the video : This first video gives you an idea of what happens before the race, joining your corral, and the wait to get to the start line when you are in the back of the pack. It can be a long boring wait if you are not running with a buddy. I made an attempt to talk to people but mostly listened to other runners deal with pre-race jitters. They are really funny.
I was in the very last corral and didn't need to worry about a warm up walk.

That white light glow is
the start line for the race!
 They had us lining up by 9:45 p.m.. From our position we could see the fireworks for EPCOT. We couldn't hear any of the announcements until they moved us up a bit more. By then the only thing we could hear was the anthem. One thing I have to say about the people surrounding me. I was so impressed with the respect they showed for our nation. As soon as we realized it was being sung all chatter ceased. 

It was then that the race began. First corral A. Walk, walk, walk, walk. Then corral B. Walk, walk, walk, hey! We could see the start! Next corral c! Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! FINALLY, it was time. The three almost four months of training were about to pay off! Fartleks, heat exhaustion, early mornings with crazy people in the parks...all of it! I could do this! And I did!


 It took forever but the race began. I started my Garmin and Gymboss. My music helped me keep a good pace and the distraction of all the costumes got me through the first 1 mile shin cramps. Suddenly my mp3 player died. OH NO! Now I was definitely going to have to rely on Disney music (not very often), scenery (not much of it...night race), and other people's conversations (plenty of that), lol! Thank you loud talkers. You helped me more than you realize.

Around 2.5 miles.
I love how all the safety
reflections on shoes and shirts
 look like stars.
 It was amazing how many people were ahead of me. We actually looked like a trail of highly disorganized ants. Without the music I needed the many volunteers cheering me on. I made it a point to wipe off my sweaty hand and high five these people whenever I passed. At around the 2.5 mile mark you could hear "Caution runners! Speed bumps ahead." Over and over and over until we passed the entrance to Animal Kingdom and swung back around to pass through it again.

At around the four mile mark I began to relay with the two ugly step sisters. I would pass them, then they would pass me and so on. I wish I had taken a picture of them. They actually motivated me to stay strong and not give into the tiredness. Mile 5 found us running into the woods that lead to the track at ESPN's Wide World of Sports. It was dark, the trail was rocky, and people just plain ole stopped running. I gave up trying to run and just walked with the rest of the crowd. This is where I lost my focus. When we hit sidewalk and then the track I just wasn't keeping pace anymore. I began to take double walk breaks. I had to snap out of it! My step sisters were gone and I was on my own. So I again looked to the volunteers for my salvation. I began to run again. Not as fast but I ran.

Back where it started!
Mile six we were in Champion Stadium. I read some of the best signs. My favorite for that spot was "Go random runner!". It was also a nice distraction to see myself up on the video board. I didn't look like I was dead yet. AWESOME! I can't even recall where I was at for mile seven. I know I was looking over my shoulder to see if there were any sweepers. At this point I realized that I didn't need to worry anymore. I was still passing people and I wasn't exhausted yet. The sweepers were not coming for me. HUZZAH! Now I was passing mile 8 and some dalmatian puppy runners. Then it was up/down an off ramp and into Hollywood Studios. I must admit that as a teenager I hated WHAM!. But as I entered the park and they were playing "Wake Me Up" (I think that was it) the beat got to me and I sung as I now paced myself to the music.

Soon I found myself approaching mile NINE and entering the "Lights, Motors, Action" theater. I stopped to take a picture of myself on the video display. These girls kept watching me try to take a picture and wouldn't get out of the way. No matter...because I was going to finish and nothing got on my nerves now! And so I ran. I walked then ran past the spaceship from "Flight of the Navigator" and the spaceship from "Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy". I walked into downtown New York. Passed a lady with a sign that read "I don't know you but I am proud of you." Thank you!

Approaching the hat!
"The End Is Near"
We ran past all of the yummy eating places and onward towards the sorcerer's hat. By now I had begun to look for my family among the onlookers. I kept worrying that they may not have made it back to the park to see me finish. Does it seem silly that I wanted them there to share this accomplishment with me? I don't think so. At this point I was beginning to feel the heat and the miles. All along the path there were volunteers continuing to cheer us on. This ("The End Is Near") was another favorite sign of mine although it felt untrue at the time.

Where is this?
It showed us the fabrication shops.
 Finally I was at the point of walking...very fast walking. I kept thinking about a nice cold drink and wondering if my family would have one waiting for me? Did they know where I was at? Were they here? Ooo! Toy Story! I have to ride that later. Where are on earth are they having us run now? Rainbow alley? 

And then I rounded a corner. I could see the finish line and I could hear the announcer saying "30 seconds until the 3 hour mark." I wanted to be under that 3 hour mark! I dug into my untapped well and sprinted for the finish line! It probably looked more like a quick jog to those watching but for me it was a sprint. I DID IT! I scanned the sideline for my family and there they were. I admit I teared up but it was a great moment for me. Ten miles and I got to share it with my family. The medal girl tried to hand me my medal but I bent down so she could place it on me like an Olympic medal. That is what it felt like to I had won. And I had.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler:

CRISTINA CANO at Finish in 2:40:56.

Time of Arrival: 12:59:23.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tower of Terror Ten Miler...CONQUERED! Part 1

Disney rocks! They left Mickey
towels on my bed.
 September 28, 2012 my family and I arrived at Disney's All Star Movie Resort. At check-in they asked if I was there for the race. I grinned like the Cheshire Cat and responded "YES"! She then welcomed us and handed me the Race Guide. It was real! This was happening! I was so excited and I hadn't even been to packet pick-up yet.
I really liked our room but I was anxious to get to the expo. 

The guardian dalmatians
warned of coming rain.
Despite the incoming rain warning from the 50 foot dalmatians (and the bus driver) we hopped on the bus. Man was it poring! There were tidal waves created as we drove to ESPN Wide World of Sports . People were being swept from the sidewalks into the newly created lakes! Okay, I am exaggerating a bit....take a look for yourselves.

The bus drop off was a pool by this time.
The bus attendants were soaked! Poor people.
We will be back!

Needless to say we did not get off of the bus and instead headed back to the hotel. The All Star Movies Resort had a pretty decent food court. Knowing that tomorrow was the race I decided to carb load a bit. What is the best way to do that on the cheap yet with Disney flair? Get the pepperoni pizza of course!
Not a bad deal. $15 for a large.
Yummers! They had Barq's Rootbeer as well so of course I had rootbeer with my pizza. After dinner the old folks were really tired from the trip up. They headed for the room and we tried once again for the expo. 

Sunshine and a
happy attendant!
Success! There was sun and the bus was actually full of people this time. One of the experiences I like about a Disney race is the people. Everyone is so happy to be there and will willingly be silly. We followed the signs for packet pick-up and found ourselves facing a bell hop from the Tower of Terror. I wish I had taken a picture of her. We asked her how to get to the ground floor and she replied in a creepy voice "You can either use the stairs" (points to stairs) "or" (Insert creepy smile) "take the elevator. " We chose the stairs.

So much to see! But first I had to pick up my free ToT 10 Miler Stitch poster. Then I got my bag, walked across the chip activator for the bib, broadcast to the world my name and age, and walked over to the orientation meeting. I am glad I attended that meeting. In it they told us about the various terrains we would encounter. That helped because I wasn't surprised like some when during the race we had to walk down a rocky dirt road. Next, I checked out the bling for this race and for the Half Marathon in January. They were so shiney and pretty!

Jeff Galloway -
Hydrate so you don't vomit.
We then attended the Jeff Galloway presentation "Strong To The Finish". He spoke about race day nutrition, hydration, and rest. In addition he advised us on the run/walk methods and various paces to use. What did I get out of it? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, and eat small light portions all day on race day."Eating a big meal the night before (or the day of) a long run can be a real problem. You will have a lot of food in your gut, and you will be bouncing up and down for an extended period. Get the picture?" - Jeff Galloway. He also discussed pacing yourself so that you could finish strong and with a smile. I soaked it all in. I sure didn't want to vomit.

Now it was time to shop! I found some fantastic earbuds for my mp3. They are called Snuggbuds and they are the first ear buds that have not hurt my ears. My ears are little and so I needed some that were small. You can replace the soft plastic cushion with different sizes. Also, the cord is fabric which I really liked. The sound was incredible...noise in my bag they went. Of course I bought a new running shirt as well. We walked around, got some free moon pies, and caught the bus back to the hotel. 

It was then that I pinned my bib onto my cheshire race shirt making it official in my mind. I was about to run my longest race yet...ten miles! Time for bed.

Check out Part 2 RACE DAY!