Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2011: 1

  This is the first report of our winter travels for 2011. Saturday, January 1 found us enjoying balmy temperatures in our new house at Rock Creek RV Resort in Naples, FL. See "Happy Holidays 2010" to see what events preceded this New Years Day. Bill arose at 5:30 AM, even though we had stayed up until midnight the night before. He did the two crossword puzzles in the Naples Daily News and then got on his computer to catch up on his journaling activities. Bill worked on finishing the handout for his computing workshop and then we drove to Office Max to get 60 copies of it. Then we moved on to Starbucks/Publix for coffee and shopping. When we got back home, Bill stapled the two page handout. We discovered that two of the drawers in our bedroom were faulty in that they had detached bottoms. Bill removed he drawers and fastened the bottoms with 6 screws per drawer. After lunch, Cathy went to the clubhouse to play bridge. Bill did some exercises and then did a 4 mile walk @ 14:41 minutes/mile. When he got back, he noticed that both calves were a bit sore, so he decided to cancel the rest of his training plans for the Goofy Challenge at Disney World. He decided that resting his legs for a week was the best preparation. Later, Bill sat outside on our front deck in the balmy air and worked on initializing his new Forerunner 305 GPS watch. This was his fourth Forerunner (205, 405, 305, 305). Then he read Time Magazine outside. When Cathy returned, she went out for a walk while Bill worked on the handout for his second session of the computing workshop. We went to the bridge for Happy Hour. Bill left early to get a shower and to get started on the salads for dinner. He prepared a quinoa/frozen meal dinner. We viewed a Lewis Black documentary during dinner and viewed a couple of episodes of "24" Season 5 afterwards.

  Sunday started at 5:40 AM for Bill. The morning temperature in the house was 72 degrees without heat. Bill worked on the Sunday Times crossword and had a couple of answers that eluded him. After lunch we walked downtown for the 5th Avenue art show. The day was warm and beautiful and the street was filled with artist tents. Bill grabbed a Starbucks treat before we walked back to Rock Creek via Oakes Farm Market. We went to Happy Hour on the bridge and then walked back home with Bud and Marty Gross, to show our house and to sit and talk for a while. Later, we went to Carrabbas for dinner at the counter. We sat next to an artist, Bernice Harmyk, and her husband Dennis. We have had a number of common travel experiences and we enjoyed talking with them as we ate. When we returned home, we viewed a couple of episodes of "24" before bedtime.

  Monday, we both stayed in bed until 6:00 AM. This was a bit early for Cathy and a bit late for Bill, who had dedicated the week to rest. It was a very cloudy morning, but felt comfortable outdoors due to mid-60 temperature and high humidity. After breakfast, we watered and fertilized our two orchids on the side steps. Cathy went to a couple of exercise classes. Bill did some indoor exercises and 3 crossword puzzles. After lunch, Bill went over to the clubhouse to test connections of his laptop to the TV and connection to the park's wireless network. Lots of things went badly or wrong. First, it was exceedingly difficult to connect the VGA and sound cables to the back of the TV due to the way it was wall-mounted. Bill had to use a small mirror and his headlamp to see as he did the connections. Due to the difficulty, Bill left half of each cable attached to the back of the TV. Next, the battery in Bill's laptop mouse decided to die, so Bill had to swap out a battery from his headlamp. Next, Bill couldn't get on the Internet via the park's "Missy" network. Bill tried to use his MyFi mobile hotspot, but it was dead, so he plugged it in and got it to work. Bill found out from JoAnn that the network often runs out of IP numbers due to people using Skype. She said that she would shut the network down for 30 minutes at 5:00 PM on Wednesday to allow Bill to connect at about 5:45 PM. Bill finally got everything working and had a successful test. We had an early tortellini dinner and then went to Country Line Dancing at 6:30 PM at the clubhouse. Afterward, we viewed the cerebral movie "Good."

  Tuesday was another warm, seasonal day. Bill slept-in until almost 6:00 AM again as part of his taper week. Cathy went to exercise at the park and her gym. Bill did his crosswords and exercises and then walked to LVCC to sign up for a tutoring room. He signed up for room 7 for Tuesday and Thursdays through May from 4:00 to 5:00 PM. Then he finished his second workshop handout and prepared to afternoon tutoring. After lunch, Bill drove to Office Max to print out a number of items related to the computing workshop, tutoring, and the Goofy Challenge coming up on the weekend. After he returned, he got a call from LVCC asking him to relinquish his tutoring room and use the center's front table instead. There was some sort of SNAFU by the office and Bill and Primo took the shaft. At 3:30 PM, Bill walked to LVCC again for his tutoring session with Primo. It went well and they stayed 15 minutes later than scheduled. Bill stopped at the bridge during Happy Hour to chat as he headed home. We had quiche for dinner and viewed "Mr. Brooks" for the second time - still a great movie.

  Wednesday was a gorgeous day. Bill did his crosswords and Cathy did her exercise classes. Bill did some exercises and stretching. After lunch, we went to Starbucks/Publix for a few items. A bit later, Bill went to Office Max to print three files and to buy some materials for the computing workshop. We spent some down time in the afternoon, sitting in the sun. We both went to the clubhouse about 5:15 PM to set up for the computing workshop. The park network wouldn't allow Internet access, so Bill had to use our WiFi hotspot. We had close to 70 people at the workshop. Cathy was a big help with handing out materials and keeping the room organized. Bill had fun teaching for the first time in a while. Afterward, we drove to Bonefish Grill, which was too crowded, and then went to Mangrove Cafe, where we ate dinner at the bar. Our fish entrees were excellent. When we returned home, we watched an episode of "24."

  Thursday morning Cathy did a couple of exercise classes. Bill did some stretching and exercises. We packed the XTerra and headed to DisneyWorld. We met Son Bill and Stacey and kids at our Saratoga Springs Resort check-in and proceeded to lunch at the resort restaurant. Then we went to a playground for a while and headed over to the Marathon Weekend Expo for packet pickup. We moved our stuff into the suite of rooms and settled in. We took a ferry to Downtown Disney and ate an expensive dinner at Fulton Crab House. When we returned, Bill and Son Bill organized their gear and headed to bed. We were at Disney World for the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge, which is described below:


I had wanted to run a "flat" marathon since having my legs trashed by the hills of Atlanta in the Georgia Marathon in March 2010. I signed up for the Disney Marathon on March 23. Shortly thereafter, my son Bill registered for the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge, which entails both the half marathon and the marathon. I wasn't a bit surprised that he went for challenge because it's in his DNA to do so. I was tempted to try the Goofy myself, but didn't think that my legs would allow it. From March into November, my training and racing were all a prelude to the Disney Marathon. In November, I suffered a calf injury as I was doing my first 18 mile training run. This kind of micro-tear injury has plagued me off and on since 1978, so I knew that I was in for a struggle to get back to running.

I went to a sports rehabilitation center for a few treatments to try to speed my recovery and I managed to do some running, but I re-injured my calf and knew that I couldn't complete my marathon training. I immediately decided to switch to speed walking training so that I could walk the marathon under the required 16 minutes per mile pace. I essentially carried out my running training schedule, but added more duplicate long walks. I struggled with my pace as I trained. I am naturally a slow walker and tend to stroll rather than walk. My natural pace is about 20 minutes per mile, so trying to train at under 15 minutes per mile was really hard.

I wasn't able to come up with a good set of goals for how fast I wanted to do the half marathon and the marathon. The best I could come up with was to try to walk the half marathon at about the same average pace that I had in my first half marathon, the Half-wit Half Marathon in Reading, PA, which resulted in a time of 3 hours and 47 seconds and an average pace of 13:48 minutes/mile. But during my training, that pace seemed way beyond my ability. Anyway, it was in the back of my head. I also wanted to try a bit of running in the two events. My heart wanted to run 5K of the half marathon and as much as I could in the marathon, but my head told me that, if I injured my calf, I would likely DNF in one or both of the races. If I followed my head instead of my heart, I would run a bit of the tail end of the marathon, so that I could limp to the finish before the sweep wagon could catch me.

We made it a family affair with Son Bill, Stacey, Sarah, and Billy and Cathy and I sharing a suite of rooms at Disney's Saratoga Springs resort. The accommodations were excellent. I have done a number of running events with my son Bill and my daughters Alex and Katie and they have always provided big thrills for me as their father. It's a kind of joy that only a parent can experience and I cherish it as much as anything in my life.

Son Bill and I awoke at 2:30 AM on the morning of Saturday, January 8. We ate breakfast, donned our gear, posed for a couple of photos, and walked to the bus stop. We arrived at the bus stop at around 3:30 AM and just missed boarding a waiting bus by 5 people. We had to wait about 45 minutes for the next bus to arrive. Meanwhile, a huge queue of hundreds of people built up behind us. We finally boarded a bus and then spent about an hour of heavy traffic to get to the starting area outside of Epcot. Son Bill and I barely made it to our respective corrals before the half marathon started. The temperature at the start was in the low 50s, which was almost perfect for a long race. I discarded my Walmart hoodie before the start. I wore two layers on top: my sleeveless underarmor compression shirt underneath, and my Team McArthur shirt on the outside. I had my fuel belt with four small bottles, each mixed with G2 and a packet of Roctane Gu. I also carried some extra strength Tylenol, my iPhone, my camera, cash, and my room key. When I started to walk, I found that the adrenaline of the event had me walking faster than I knew I could. I was able to easily stay under 14 minutes per mile. I decided to go all out and not save anything for the next day's marathon. This is so typical of my approach to life, it's almost funny. I found that I could walk faster than some of the other participants could run. It was fun seeing Disney characters and walking through the Magic Kingdom. I made two potty stops, one in a Magic Kingdom bathroom and one in a porta-potty around mile 12. Here's how I did on my GPS:

My chip time for the half marathon was 3:01:14, very close to Halfwit time. I shot a lot of video clips during the half marathon and later combined them into one video. Son Bill phoned me just after I finished. He had checked my finish on the Internet. He told me where to catch a bus back to Saratoga Springs.

The whole family ate lunch in the resort restaurant. Afterward, Son Bill and I napped for a while. The rest of the family went to Magic Kingdom. Son Bill and I went shopping and stopped at a Panera Bread for coffee. Later in the evening, all of us except for Son Bill and Billy went out to eat in Downtown Disney at Captain Jack's.

On marathon morning, I arose at 1:45 AM. Son Bill got up before 2. We ate breakfast, donned our gear and were at the bus stop by 3:00 AM. We were among the first people on the first bus to the start area. No traffic jam on this morning, so we arrived quite early. The temperature was around 40 degrees, so we were pretty bundled up. We sat around in the Cigna tent for a while before taking part in a slow mob walk to the starting corrals. I settled in near the front of the last corral, named "H" and had a long, cold wait. I kept my sweatshirt and gloves on for the start and didn't get rid of them until around mile 2. I had on an extra layer up top: my half marathon shirt from Saturday. My feet and legs hurt a bit as I started out. I had taken 3 extra strength Tylenol before leaving our room to deal with the pain. I wondered how much speed my legs would allow for the long distance of the race and was worried that I might hit the wall at some point. In the video that I put together from 30 video clips, you can hear my attitude get better and better as the race progressed. It was a lot of fun going into all four Disney parks. The spectators were a great help. I set a PR by ingesting 15 Gu packs during the six hours of the event. I took 3 more extra strength Tylenols after the halfway mark. I made 4 potty stops during the race. At mile 25, I decided to run the last 1.2 miles. I hadn't run since before Thanksgiving, so I didn't know what to expect. To my surprise, my running legs felt fresh and I easily kept a running pace in the 8:40 minutes/mile range. Here's how I did on my GPS:

My chip time for the marathon was 6:04:29. I felt very good about it. Son Bill, Cathy, and Sarah were there to see me finish. We all took the bus back to Saratoga Springs. After getting ready, Sarah and I went to the swimming pool accompanied by Stacey. The water was heated, but the cool wind was blowing pretty hard, so I was chilly in the pool. Sarah had a ball swimming and using the water slides. After we headed back to the room. We dropped the kids at the Polynesian and went to a great dinner at the California Cafe on top of the Contemporary. We were able to enjoy the scenery and stay at our table for the evening fireworks near the Cinderella Castle. Son Bill and I wore our Goofy shirts and medals to dinner.

Monday, the whole family went to Magic Kingdom for the day and had a great time in spite of a downpour before lunch, where we ate with the Pooh characters in the Crystal Palace.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the event and plan to repeat it next year. I was especially proud of Son Bill's accomplishments: under 2 hours for the half and under 4 hours for the marathon.

        Bill and Cathy