Waking at 3:30 in the morning, I knew if it was Sunday then I must be running a marathon. As with the previous day I got up, dressed and out the door to make my way, via monorail, to the Race Retreat to get ready. My legs felt remarkably good considering what I had asked of them the previous two days, better than I had felt the previous year for sure.
The Race Retreat was where the first issue of the day occurred, for some reason the countdown clock for the start of the race was set for 6AM instead of 5:30, so was showing we had an extra 30 mins to get ready. I had to double check before I settled down for a quick relax to make sure I didn’t actually miss the start. After Saturday’s mad dash I left with plenty of time to make it to the Corral and I was ready to go.
Even as we all set off I still wasn’t sure what pace to try and run at. The experiements the previous 2 days had shown that 8:00 min pace wasn’t going to put my heart rate through the roof, the question would be how much I had in the tank and could I keep that up to the end. I decided to go out relatively conservatively and match what I had for the first few miles in Cayman, so 8:20. As with last year a couple of toilet stops were required in the first 5 miles, and then also the same as last year, once I hit World Drive my legs were off and I was going under 8:10 pace. I was feeling fantastic. My legs felt fresh, my heart rate was only around 150 everything was looking good.
We went through Magic Kingdom car park with the sun coming up and unlike Saturday I was actually able to meet up with Sarah and Max to say a brief “Hi!” before heading into the park. It was here that I deviated from the previous 2 years and started stopping to have my photo taken with some of the Disney characters. Buzz Lightyear was first as he was just standing around with nothing to do. Jessie was next and I continued stopping at my favourite characters the rest of the way round.
At half-way I was 1:49, 9 minutes quicker than last year, but I was still going strong, although I was starting to wonder if I could keep it up. I wasn’t feeling tired and my legs were still fine, but there was just a doubt that maybe I would falter later on.
This turned out to be the case, around 16M, just before we came into Animal Kingdom I suddenly dropped off the pace a bit, although that was more likely down to stopping for 3 photos in quick succession and also having a water and Cliff Blok stop in the same mile. By the time we left the park about 18M I was starting to struggle a bit more, and with the undulations across the overpasses it used what little that was left in my legs. Having said all this, when I crossed the final overpass and went through 20M I was still on for under 3:40 if I managed to average 8:30 pace for the last 10K.
The problem was the out-and-back section between 20 and 21M, I lost my concentration and ended up needing to walk. I wasn’t out of breath, and my legs were not hurting, I was just tired and lacking in energy. I managed to get going again, but knew pretty quickly the game was up. I phoned Sarah to let her know that the wheels had come off and I would be over an hour to get to the end.
I walk/ran the rest of the way and got a lot of encouragement from both the supporters and the other runners to help me get to the finish.
I stopped the clock at 3hr57min15secs, not a PB, but considering the finish it wasn’t actually a bad time at all. You can’t always set a PB, and my last 3 marathons had been PB’s so at some point I was going to have to deal with the disappointment.
This time I went for a massage in the warmer tent, although the amount of biofreeze that was used meant I was still a bit chilly when it was finished. I went for a sit in the warm sun outside and loaded up on the eggs, sausages, potatoes, muffins and anything else that was being provided.
Although the end result wasn’t what I had planned I still managed to complete the 42.4M in a little over 48 hours which is still a pretty impressive achievement anyway you look at it.