Eric Van De Vens Blog

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Tower of Terror!!!!!!!!

At long last, the day, or night, in this case, was at hand!

Before I get started, I have to thank a few people. First, my Wife, for putting up with all my “nagging”! 🙂

Next, the Uptons. Jen and Paul, you two are great people and I thank you for all your advice and help!

Jeff Galloway. Although I didn’t meet him, following his plan probably made this event possible.

All of the training that went into this event, starting over two years ago, has been documented previously in this blog. From the torn calf muscle last year to the near 100 degree heat, to the broken bone in my foot, seven weeks prior to the race, it’s all there!!

And now, without any further ado………………………………..Raceday!!

The day started off by leaving Tealas parents home and checking into the hotel. Once again, either due to faulty directions,poor navigation by my chief navigator, or poor signage, we, once again, missed the turn for All Star Sports and ended up exiting the property!!! Again!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll have to explain. For whatever reason, the Disney people don’t seem to realize that just because you put a sign a mile away from the destination hotel, you actually need to put a sign somewhere near the entrance to the hotel! This isn’t the first time this mishap has occurred. In fact, it seems to happen every time we stay anywhere else but the Polynesian Hotel!

Eventually, we arrived at the hotel, checked in and picked up The Upton’ 11:30. We then went to the Contemporary Hotel for a Mickey Moms Club meeting/lunch, which was supposed to take an hour. Three hours later, 3:30 pm, we left!! Now, we have both missed our nap cues!!

4:00 pm–Since the nap was out of the question, time to take the NoExplod in order to induce a bowel movement. Next, time for a hot bath.

The bathtub at the hotel was apparently designed for children, not a 5′ 11″ 228 pound adult! I soaked for a while and then took a hot shower. Speaking of which, I didn’t have to modify the shower head to increase the flow and, there was a massage setting on the shower head! I ran the shower on my back and legs for 10 minutes. I was feeling pretty loose.

5:30–Time to put on the race bib and check everything out for a fit. Here I am all ready to go:

6:30–Walked over to The Uptons room and got on the bus that takes us to the park.

7:20– Arrived at the parking lot, which was the staging area for the event. The bus driver must have been related to Clark Griswald, as he parked the absolutely furthest distance from the entrance!!!

7:45– Entered the staging area.

8:00-9:30–Checked in “the bag”. The bag held our change of clothes and some snacks for after the race. Also had a few snacks, some Sport Beans, and a Chocolate Boost. The Boost was my dinner as we missed dinner. This turned out to be a very good move! 😉

9:30-9:45–Time to go in the corrals. The Uptons were in Group A, I was in Group C, and Teala was in Group D. Time to walk to the starting line. All the groups were in place. The temperature was probably 82 degrees and roughly 200% humidity! The excitement was building!!

9:50– The singing of the Star Spangled Banner!! At this point, it hit me. I felt like Tom Brady at the Super Bowl!

9:55–The start of the race for the wheelchair participants. They were sent off with fireworks!!

10:00- Group A is off.

10:05- Group B is off.

10:10- Group C, yours truly, is off!

Right out of the gate, I was worried about numerous issues. The previous weeks training had caused my shins to hurt and I was afraid that issue would rear its ugly head. There was also the issue of not running a real race with others. The 5K races that I have been in were not really races and there were a lot of individuals, that to put it simply, were just in the way. During the first mile, there were several people who didn’t know if they were running, walking or just standing around! Fortunately, that situation would resolve itself shortly as the track got much wider after the first mile.

Using the Nike run tracker, the voice activation didn’t function so I didn’t know what my pace was. Fortunately, the Motorola wireless headphones performed flawlessly. The music app played fine and so did my run/walk interval application. During the training for this event, I had the run setting at one minute and the walk setting set for 45 seconds. For this race, I changed the settings to one minute for each. This turned out to be one of the smartest moves I have made!

Every 1.5 miles, there was a drink station with Powerade and water. I skipped all of those as I had Gatorade in my running belt as well as the energy Sport Beans. The sport beans worked like a charm!!

During the run portions, I ran fairly hard and had to weave in and out of some of the other participants. In my mind, I was remembering what Jeff Gallaway had said previously and the advice of others, do not run your fastest at the beginning of the race. I kept “slowing” myself down as I didn’t want to peak too soon.

5K- Time 40:01. Pace: 13:15. I didn’t know this at the time as the voice playback wasn’t working, but the pace was a little faster than I wanted. I was shooting for a 14:00 pace.

After the first three miles, things sort of spread out and there wasn’t as much weaving in and out.  I was performing flawlessly if I say so myself! No pain from my previously broken foot, which may have had something to do with the Vicodin I took in the corral! The calves felt fine, my breathing was controlled and I was just starting to sweat. Time for some water and Gatorade. Just a few sips of each.

Mile 4– I continued running and fell into a very nice rhythm. The course up to this point was all pavement. That was about to change.

Mile 5– We veered off course and were now running through the woods!! This was over loose dirt and gravel and narrowed from the wide open five lane road we were on to about a twenty-foot wide path through the woods. This seemed like a good time to check the stats on the phone. Apparently, the woods put the final nail in the coffin, so to speak, on the Nike app!  It had shut off. We pretty much walked through most of this area and then it was on to the Wide World of Sports track.

We ran around the track and I got to see myself on the baseball field big-screen TV!

Mile 6-7– I continued my pace. I was running about 3/4 speed during the running intervals and walking faster than I normally do by myself. It was good to be near some people who were on the same interval setting I was as we could sort of stay together and pace each other. I was in no pain at all. Maybe it was the excitement of the event or something else, but nothing hurt.

Mile 8– This is where you separate the men from the boys! By mile eight, it was apparent the difference between those that trained for the event and those that didn’t. Those that didn’t were now walking, if you can call it that. Many were on the sidelines, stopped, drinking water, getting Bio-Freeze from the table at the mile marker. Others, were starting to feel the effects of the heat and humidity. I myself, was completely covered in sweat like Robert Hays, from Airplane.

It was at this time, that my right calf started to cramp. It wasn’t really a cramp, but felt like little golf balls were forming in my calves. Fortunately, this stopped during the walk interval. When I started to run again, after about 30 seconds, it started again. When I started the walk interval, I massaged my calf for around 10 seconds and then continued running.  This pattern continued for about the next half mile. Then, it started on the left calf! Fortunately, there was a water station coming up and I took four cups of water and a Powerade as I was out of Gatorade. As a side note, Powerade sucks!!!!

Mile 9– I was continuing to run, telling myself, you are almost there…finish it!! At 9 1/2 miles….the pain went away. I was now able to run again at my normal pace.

Mile 9 3/4– The excitement of getting near the finish was getting to me. I ran through two of my walk intervals!! As I turned the final corner, there was the finish line. There were hundreds of spectators on either side cheering everyone on. As I do in my training, I sprinted to the finish.

I crossed the finish line and threw my hands in the air. I did it!!!

The final numbers:


Distance 10M
Clock Time 2:31:58
Chip Time 2:20:30
Overall Place 5516 / 8724
Gender Place 2274 / 3071
Division Place 162 / 233
Age Grade 36.5%
5K 40:01
10K 1:24:15

Today, I am slightly sore, but will resume training for the Wine and Dine race in November.

All the training, pain, sweat and everything else was worth it.

Here are the Wife and I after the race:

This race is in the books and I am quite satisfied with my performance. Considering this is my first distance race, of any kind, I can now look forward to the next race. And the one after that, and the one………………………………………     🙂


October 1, 2012 - Posted by | Family and Friends, Health and Fitness, Running | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] time last year, I was writing about my first ever run, the 2012 Tower of Terror run. It is hard to believe that it is only been a year seems much […]

    Pingback by Faux Tower of Terror Run! « Eric Van De Vens Blog | October 7, 2013 | Reply

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