Thursday, November 1, 2007

Inaugural Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13k 10.27.07

Hi all,

Race 31 was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 13k, the newest Disney Endurance event. We ran in and out of Disney’s MGM Studios and around the Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. It was a multi-terrain course, including asphalt, gravel, dirt, mud, concrete, cobblestones, track, and the spongy surface of the Park itself.

Goals: I’m trying to limit myself to running at my marathon goal pace, so I was hoping to keep it to 10:00, plus running between water stations, etc.

There was no expo, to speak of, just the packet pick-up, commemorative pin pick-up, and a merchandise counter. The “glow-in-the-dark” t-shirt does glow in the dark, but it’s cotton, so my plan of taking pictures of everyone running in the dark went out the window (and with it, my reason for bringing the second camera – oh, well). I bought the commemorative tech shirt and a picture frame.

I caught the bus to Disney’s MGM Studios and was happy to see another racer waiting. The driver was confused about our trying to board, because the park closes at 7:30, but we convinced him that we knew what we were doing. Debbie and I talked about various Disney events and racing and stayed together until the start. There was a giant screen playing videos of mostly themed music (Twilight Zone, scary, heavy metal), but every now and then a real clinker would drop (Reba McIntyre’s rendition of Because of You). Two songs from my running playlist came on, which made me happy and got me pumped. I used my inhaler at 9:15, for the 9:30 start. Two Tower of Terror Bellhops were mcing the event and at 9:33 came back onstage to tell us that a lot of people were still trying to get to the event, because of traffic. I hope they realize that having no transportation for the event will cause horrible traffic jams with 4000 people trying to get into a single park at the same time that the day’s revelers are heading home after the park closes. Back to the race – the announcer told us that the new race start would be at 9:50. A twenty-minute delay because people hadn’t gotten to the race on time. I was there! There were tons of people there and they were all pissed! Everyone had fueled, hydrated, peed, inhaled, warmed-up, stretched, etc., for a 9:30 start and we weren’t told until race time that there was a delay! Grrr

So, we watch more videos and listen to more babbling by the bellhops and finally get to line up. The 6.5k fun-runners/walkers were told to move to the side so the racers could start and then the fireworks went off. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was when I started passing walkers in the first mile! They didn’t have chips, so they weren’t in the race. I can’t really blame them too much, though. Their start was delayed by 26 minutes, because the official start for the fun run was 6 minutes after the race. It was very crowded at the start and dodging walkers took up quite a bit of time, so I had a slow start. After a while, we were directed off the road onto a dirt and gravel path by a lovely voice telling us that the course surface was changing to dirt and gravel. That was a nice touch. The course was lit, but there were short distances between the generators where it was pitch black. The heavy rains of the days before had turned portions of the path into mud. Every now and then, you’d hear a splash, then splatter, then a chorus of surprised “Ahh”s. I let out one of those myself at one point (and caused a chorus once, too). All along this path, “escaped lunatics” were taunting us, redirecting us, etc. I guess that was supposed to be scary, but it was kind of cheesy. There were 3 roads with very bad cambers, which is usually bad for me. When I run in Central Park, it’s usually my right leg that is on the incline and it feels as if my leg is jamming up into my hip. This time, the first two cambers had my left leg on the incline and my right leg got stretched and felt great! The course felt like it clover-leafed a lot. We seemed to be running away from the Park every time we got close. We headed through the Wide World of Sports and then a great stretch on the track. Finally, we headed back into the Park. To give you an idea of the scale of the parks, we still had 2 miles to go. More clover-leafing was involved, but 2 miles is a pretty long way to run inside the park. Finally, I turned a corner and saw the finish! I got my medal, my treats (two kinds of brownies and Powerade) then headed to the baggage check to get my camera. I rode the Tower of Terror once and the Rock ‘n Roller Coaster twice, but ran out of time for more rides (thanks to the late start, which did not mean that the party would last an additional 20 minutes, unfortunately). The DJ played my power song (Jump Around by House of Pain) – three of my running songs were played at this event!! As I was leaving the Park to take a circuitous route back to my hotel, I saw a bus and ran towards it. Disney Transport had apparently heard that runners were being left to fend for themselves after dark and had arranged to bring buses on a will-call basis. The bus I saw was going to my hotel, so I was back in my room by 1:15 and showered and in bed by 2!

Official stats: I finished in 1:20:39 for an average pace of 9:59 (a course PR because I’ve never run this race before). I was 759 out of 2590 total finishers, putting me in the 71st percentile, 295 out of 1522 female finishers, putting me in the 81st percentile, and 39 out of 209 female finishers aged 40-44, putting me in the 82nd percentile. My splits were: 10:33, 10:38, 10:01, 9:59, 9:54, 9:27, 9:58, 9:28, and :50 for the last .1 mile. It was in the upper 70s and very humid, but I don’t have the exact numbers.

Celebratory treats: Well, the entire weekend was a treat! And, when I got back to work on Monday, there was a package from Elizzabeth with a yummy bar of Knipfschildt chocolate, which I designated a post-race treat.

Next up: The NYC Marathon (11//4)

Thank you for all your support!

Pictures are available here: Enjoy!


Jamie said...

Lookin' good for the NYC Marathon! Nothing like a great performance on your home turf, which you'll no doubt have. Great job at Disney and looking forward to your race report after this weekend.

UltraMM said...

Great Report/Photos!

Can I add it to my website ?