The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Recap

October 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm Leave a comment

J&S Race 1

Sis and me before the race.

After running The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13K Saturday night, I know understand why half marathon and marathon recaps are so long.  A lot happens during all those miles, and I was lucky enough to share every minute of it with my sister.

Before the race, we sat apart from our guys and discussed our goal time.  We knew 1:20:00 was a perfect race for me, but we neither one expected that.  We knew 2:00:00 was how long the guys were expecting to ride rides and drink beer before we finished.  We secretly decided on 1:45:00 as a goal, but did not tell them.

Sis and I made rounds through the pre-race excitement, getting temporary tattoos and our pics taken.  We also had the traditional pre-race wait in the porta-potty lines.  This was my first time to pee in a porta and luckily my last that night.  I am a little amazed running continues to flourish under these conditions, but I am also a germaphobic freak, so it could just be me.

We lined up in the 9:01-11:00 pack and decided this was the best place to start.  After lots of Disney hoopla we chanted the ten-second countdown and then began moving when the fireworks shot into the air.  We walked, then jogged and were finally running.

During the first mile a few people with Garmins said we were running 11:00 miles.  I thought they were crazy because we seemed to be moving faster than that, but after a hairpin turn we hit the first mile marker and were still at the 11:00 pace.  From there we followed the road to a side access street or something and I was shocked to find myself on gravel.  I don’t run on any surfaces other than roads because I have been prone to ankle issues in the past and don’t feel up to gravel.

It turns out my concerns were founded; I am not up to gravel.  About mile 2:00, I turned my ankle on a lone rock as the gravel transitioned into a dirt path and almost went down.  I grabbed my sister—who thankfully steadied me instead of falling with me—and we made our way to the side.  I was so mad.  We were only 2 miles in!  How could this happen?

If there is one identifying trait that unites us as sisters, it would have to be that we are both very stubborn. I told Sis I would walk it off and kept moving.  I just could not let this slip away, but my ankle was killing me.  After about 100 steps, I was feeling better.  There was a slight break in the pack and we decided to jog back in and see what happened.  Over the next half mile the remaining pain faded and we were back on track.

Actually, we were literally on a track at the Wide World of Sports.  There were cheerleaders and a few people encouraging us here and I felt better.  Sis and I agreed to run 4 miles and then see how we felt.  By 3.5, I was over the ankle and feeling great.  We neither one mentioned walking when we crossed the 4-mile marker (still on 11:00ish pace) though we did celebrate the halfway mark.  We decided to just keep going a half-mile at a time and see what happened.

Miles 4-6 were great for me.  We talked and passed these two little girls who were obviously sisters and running together.  It was less cute when they passed us, but still cute.  I made a water stop and downed my Hammer Gel.  Things were good.  We crossed back onto the Disney grounds.

Running out the end of the 6th mile I started to get tired.  By the start of 7, I was really tired.  And really, really chafed.  We were entering the park and started to see people and rides.  Sis was determined we were going to run the whole thing and kept encouraging me.  She sounded so confident I had tolistened.

At 7.5, I would have started walking if not for my sister.  I was getting chills and my left foot was asleep.  I don’t know if it was a wall or bonk or what, but I was not up to the finish.  Somehow she kept me going.

We rounded a corner and saw the only hill of the entire run.  Seriously?  A nice volunteer told us we would be at the 8-mile marker when we topped the hill.  We trudged up, only to realize 13K does not exactly equal 8 miles.  We had .2 more to go.  I told my sister I could not sprint, and she said we were finishing together no matter what.

Then we saw it: the beautiful finish line.  I saw the clock and it was 1:28:ish.  I looked at Sis and told her my personal goal had been to finish under 1:30 and she told me we could make it. The adrenaline kicked in and with all the energy I had left I sprinted by her side to the finish.  It was really an amazing feeling.  I did it! But more importantly, I did it with my sister.  I felt like “Wind Beneath my Wings” should have been playing instead of whatever was.  We did it!

The final clock time was 1:29:19, but our final chip time was 1:28:06!  The feeling when they put our medals on was so powerful.  I never once earned a trophy or real medal before.

J&S Race 2

Water, Powerade, photos, and food bags, followed by the reunion with our guys.  I know they were both surprised we ran the whole thing.  They were taking photos and smiling and hugging us even though we smelled.  I could tell my boyfriend, H, was a little worried about me, and truthfully I was a little worried too.  I was getting the chills and felt very weak. I kept walking and the Powerade and water kicked in finally.  We waited in line for our stuff and by the time we left the finish line, I was feeling tired but good.

We changed but decided waiting in line for roller coasters is not the best way to recover from 8 miles.  We opted to head back to the car.  An hour later, I was showered and in bed with my medal on the bedside table.  I won’t lie and say it didn’t cross my mind to sleep in it, but I have to save some special honor for my first half!

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