Friday, December 20, 2013

#Goofyinaday: Michael and Eddie's Epic Adventure, Finale

Team Tizzel is proud to continue our series of guest posts by our friend Michael Miller chronicling his adventure with Eddie McCoy to tackle 39.3 miles of racing in one day; and in two different states. Today's post will cover Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon and close out the series.

Follow Michael and Eddie on Twitter

Earlier posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Part 4: Where We Take a Bus Ride and Eddie Shows Me His Tiny Buns

While I’ve been running in some capacity for over 30 years, it doesn’t necessarily define me as a person. It’s just a part of who I am, like my being left handed, or awesome, or being extremely humble. While Eddie has been running for under two years at this point, his running has redefined how others see him. Though I believe his weight loss and transition from a sedentary lifestyle reflect the strength of character he’s always had. With all of his hard work and effort, Eddie has had a lot of successes in his running and may one day win a competitive race outright, just like I have done, but my great humility prevents me from pointing this out. Yet despite our varied running backgrounds, I can safely say #GoofyInADay started out more as a sense of adventure than being about running. I can also say that our final run at Wine & Dine morphed into so much more than an adventure.

As I’ve written about for another post in the Team AllEars Blog, one of the oldest, most respected distance races in the world is the Comrades Marathon in South Africa. A 56-mile race, Comrades has a very strict 12 hours cut-off, which most people cannot even imagine making. That being said, one of the key things that have helped people complete this race was the creation of the concept of “The Bus.” To some, The Bus is a fancier term for a pace group, which has become more common in races of all distances; however The Bus is more than that. The Bus is a group of runners whom develop an identity over the life of the race, setting a pace and tone that gets the whole group across the finish line.

With our late arrival to the start at Disney’s Wide World of Sports we quickly dropped our gear off at bag check and found our teammates for what can only be called "A Second Obligatory Group Photo". I say second because the group already did one without the two of us since everyone wasn’t 100% sure we were going to make it on time. Due to my humility, I tried to squeeze in unnoticed at the front of the group, but I still think you can see me in the picture. I like to think of that first picture as the Directors Cut – the version everyone probably really wanted to have, but they had to accept Eddie and my presence and take the second one. After the photo, it was off to our corral, where 12 members of Team AllEars formed our Bus for the race. Our Bus Driver was Rich Gairing, a good friend and the man in the Viking hat in the photo at the beginning of these blogs. As the Bus Driver, Rich was responsible for getting the 12 of us to our final destination…..before the cut off, which means that besides having to run his own race he willingly becomes responsible for the races of others.

So from the sound of fireworks and the surge of runners until we crossed the finish line it was no longer about #GoofyInADay for Eddie and me. For 13.1 miles everything was about the group. How were people holding up? Were we still together? Who was going to take the next individual photo in front of a mile marker sign? Throughout it all, we stuck together, joked and swapped positions. For most of the race, Eddie and I bounced between people and ran with old friends and team members we had never run with before. The ease in which we ran belied the fact that we had already completed a full marathon a couple of hundred miles to the north, and my humility prevents me from even mentioning it. Not once during the entire run did the fact that with each step we were running further on that day than we had ever run in a 24 hour period ever register on Eddie's or my consciousness. And as we crossed the finish line in 3 waves of 4 people, our Bus made it’s destination having some of the most fun I’ve ever had in a race.

Since I recounted the actual run in our Team AllEars Blog, I am just going to hit some of the highlights of the race. For example, the floats from last year’s 20 Mile Spectacular actually look very cool at the half way point in a half marathon….though they still aren’t Spectacular. And the Osborne lights are amazing to run through, though Eddie did make us stop and sing a Christmas Carol to be used for a podcast….however due to an inability on our part to follow instructions, it is now relegated to the blooper reel.

One of the highlights for me was the Ugly Christmas Sweater wicking shirts that Eddie, Rich and I wore for the race. While it was a little warm running in long sleeve shirts in the Florida humidity, we got two of my favorite race photos. One of The Three Wise (Ass) Men sitting on a bench in the Osborne Lights section contemplating life and maybe why we were wearing long sleeve shirts. The other is a corresponding picture from Eddie’s Go Pro that shows the rest of the group standing there taking pictures of us. In my mind these two pictures taken together show the camaraderie we all felt that evening….while also filling Eddie's and my not so subtle need to be the center of attention.

With all of this, the best part of this race is the After Party. The unique aspect of Wine & Dine is it allows runners to hit EPCOT's World Showcase after hours to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival. After a long race, any picture you would see shows a group of tired runners torn between wanting to “after-party” and wanting to go to bed. It was here, in our Savannah Finisher Shirts and Medals, that Eddie and I concluded our #GoofyInADay.

Having never attended Food & Wine, Eddie made a point of directing me to one of his favorite after race snacks at the Germany Pavilion. Two Sausage Sandwiches, consisting of 8 inch long and narrow sausages on two short 4 inch rolls. And though they were tasty, I will leave you with the same uncomfortable feeling that Eddie gave me to wrap up our day’s events when he held them out to me and said with a smile on his face “Michael, take a look at my tiny buns".


Here's Eddie's video from the Wine and Dine:


Team Tizzel would like to thank Michael for taking the time to chronicle their adventure and allow us to share this great content with everyone. You are welcome to write more posts for Team Tizzel anytime. Thanks also to Eddie for all the great photos and videos that showed us all how excellent and epic your weekend was.


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