Achievement Unlocked: Coast to Coastal
We recently got off the Disney Fantasy on an Eastern Caribbean cruise. The last port of call on this cruise is Castaway Cay. Disney has started running a untimed, 5k race on the island. We had been looking forward to the race for some time. Unfortunately, I have been fighting some injuries, so I was unsure how I would do.
We started off getting up in our cabin and getting ready with our running equipment. We had both made sure our GPS devices were charged the night before. We were not going to get many chances to record this route.
We met early in the morning in The Tube, which is one of the adult only areas in the aft of the ship. We were pretty early, so only a couple of people were there. We showed our IDs and our Key to the World cards to the castmembers and they signed us up and gave us numbers with two of the largest safety pins I had ever seen.
We sat around and waited for more people to filter in. One family that we ended up bonding with a bit ended up sitting behind us. Mom and Dad were doing the race with us. I think all in all, we ended up with 50 plus people. We were given a briefing on the route. They had maps up on three projectors. This is an out and back race. The route starts at the bike rental shop. Then you head out on the landing strip. After that you loop around where the sight seeing tower is. Then you hit the runway again and continue on. At the end of the runway you turn around and repeat what you just finished.
Once the castmembers got word that they were allowing debarking from the ship, we were escorted off of the ship. So, we were some of the first people off. Ironically, as we were walking, we were getting passed and pushed by people racing to the beaches to get the best spots.
We walked quite a bit to get to the bike rental, which is the start and the finish line. It was quite hot already and several people were taking water breaks on the way. My GPS was having trouble locking on. I am thinking, it doesn’t get much more wide open then this. However, by the time we got to the start line, it finally locked on. Everyone was also already sweating.
They grouped us around at the start line and again gave instructions regarding the course. One of the castmembers got on a bike to work a water station which is an excellent touch. There is a big digital timing clock at the line. The other castmember gave us the countdown, started the clock, and we were off.
Somehow, The Blonde ended up right at the front, while I was in the middle of the pack. So, I spent the first 300 yards or so trying to get around people and catch up to her. While I was able to catch her, I was not able to hang with her very long. Soon, we hit the runway and you could feel the heat bouncing off of the concrete.
About two minutes into the race, we turned down the loop. This was a “bike trail” which was paved. Trees lined both sides of the road. Again, the sun and the heat were pretty strong. So, I started trying to take advantage of the shade provided by the trees. That meant I was not necessarily running the shortest route, but it was the cooler route. I was passed by several people. It became clear that there were about five or six runners who were actively training. There were probably 20 – 25 runners who had run in the past, but not necessarily in race form. And then the rest of the people were walking or struggling through it.
As I near the end of the loop, I saw some people coming from a side road. They were some of the leaders. They had taken a wrong turn and were correcting themselves. They quickly passed me. The water station was at the end of the loop. That was about 9:10 into the race. I grabbed a cup of water and turned down the runway towards to adult area beach. I had a couple of sips of water and poured the rest of it over my head to cool down a bit.
I could see The Blonde ahead of me now. I had lost her in the loop. We passed each other after she had turned around and gave each other a high five. At the end of the runway was a barrel marking the 5k turnaround point. I tapped that and I was halfway done. That was at the 11:21 mark. Not bad for someone who had not been training very much. I turned around and got ready to repeat.
In and out races are interesting because you see where you are in relation to everyone else. As I recognized people I gave them a thumbs up or some words of encouragement. I hit the water station and loop entrance again at around 13:37. I grabbed another water and repeated what I did before. I took a couple of sips and then poured the rest on my head. While the course was super flat, we were on a island at sea level, the heat was definitely getting to me.
At this point I was racing by myself. The loop had enough curves that you couldn’t see very far in front of you. So, I just kept on going. Every once in a while I would pass someone who was walking the race. At one point, another runner came towards me. I didn’t know what to think about that as I thought he was one of the leaders. I thought, maybe he wants to do a 10k. I think it turns out that he got lost again.
At 21:34, I hit the runway again. I grabbed another cup of water, rinse and repeat. I knew I was in the home stretch, but I was having a hard time judging how far I had to go even with the GPS. I may have been on auto pilot at that point. I turned off the runway and started to push harder. I had been running in the low 8s. I moved to a low to mid 7 pace. I had one last turn to do and fortunately, I picked the right direction to turn. I saw the finish line and gave it everything I got.
I ran past the guy handing out medals because he was standing right at the line. I hit stop on my GPS as I crossed the line and bent over and tried to catch my breath for 30 seconds or so. I then went back and got my plastic Mickey head medal. It is a nice touch that they give out medals and have bib numbers.
I saw The Blonde finally. She was standing around talking with the other woman who was in the lead. She was ecstatic It turns out she won it with a time of 21:18. She was happy for the rest of the trip. I finally looked at my watch. I had done it 23:32. That is an unofficial PR for both of us.
I grabbed a large drink of water and he headed back to the ship. As we were wearing our medals, we had a bunch of people congratulate us on the run. We got back on the Fantasy, cleaned up, and headed back the way we came to go to Serenity Bay to relax after a hard morning’s run.