Thursday, February 12, 2015

Goofy Challenge Part 2 - WDW Marathon Recap

#GoofyChallenge Day 2 - the WDW Marathon.  Warning - this is a long post.

If you missed it, here's part 1.

This was it.

Don't get me wrong - I had my concerns going into the half marathon the day before given my leg injury but I had run 9 half marathons before and I was pretty sure I would at least finish.  It might not be pretty, but I would finish.  The full marathon, on the other hand, was a whole different animal.

I had only run 1 marathon prior to this one - the 2013 WDW Marathon.  I went into that race, in my opinion, undertrained and I was not too pleased with my performance.  Well, this time I was just as undertrained, if not more so.  So that coupled with my injury - well, I was saying a lot of prayers in the corrals, let me just tell ya.

I actually got a really good sleep the night before so when my alarm went off at 2am, I got up and got myself ready and then Bonnie and I headed to catch the first bus so we could have a chance to enjoy race retreat.

Suzanne, Bonnie, and I in race retreat

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my last post - but I LOVED race retreat!  And if I did say that, well, it bears repeating.  Not having to worry about bringing my pre-race fuel, having a warm spot to relax and eat, with private gear check and private port-a-potties and no lines?!?!  Sign me up.  I did not take any pictures that second morning because the same Toy Story characters were there and I honestly just wanted the time to sit and get myself mentally together.  Suzanne met us again and once we were ready, we met Amy and Wendy (Shannon had already gone to her corral) outside and headed to corrals.

That morning we made it over with enough time for me to take a load off before the race started.  Again, I was really nervous about the leg and it was getting into my head, so I sat on the ground and prayed for strength and tried to shake off the nerves.  I felt really bad, because I was the only one that had run a marathon before - I was supposed to be showing the others there was nothing to worry about - I'm hoping they didn't notice??  #friendfail  Next thing we knew, it was our turn, and we were off.  Bonnie was going to do her own thing but the rest of us decided to try to stick together as long as we could.

The first 6 miles or so was the same as the half marathon the day before, so I took some deep breaths and settled into our 2:1 ratio.  I was feeling surprisingly good.  We made a few potty stops and one pit stop inside the Magic Kingdom for Amy to get a picture with the Red Queen (she was dressed as Alice), and then we headed past the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian again but this time turned into the Walt Disney World Speedway.

With the dreaded "steep walkway ahead."  

I absolutely can't stand running in the speedway.  Two years ago, it was hot and sunny and I just felt like I was trudging through sludge running on that hot concrete.  This year it was considerably cooler and not as bad, but it's still one of my least favorite sections of the course.  Thankfully, once we got off the speedway we were headed for the Animal Kingdom and the halfway mark!  I was especially excited because I knew our friend Lisa was going to be there to cheer us on.

After passing by the most wonderfully smelling water treatment plant (note sarcasm there), we hit a med tent and a banana station and I did something I have never done before - I stopped at both.  My knees were starting to feel the 13.1 miles from the day prior so I slathered them with my new favorite, Bio Freeze.  I was also getting hungry and I knew that my race fuel wasn't going to cut it so I had a banana.  I had always worried about eating "real" food during a race and how it would sit on my stomach but it tasted really good going down and never revisited.  Not to jump ahead, but I ended up eating a banana at the second stop AND having a piece of chocolate at mile 23 and I felt SOOOOOOOOOO much better after this marathon than my first - so there's something to that and I will have to remember that for next time. 

Wait, what?  Next time?!?!  

Whoa, I'm REALLY jumping ahead now.

We hit Animal Kingdom and Amy and Wendy wanted to ride Everest (the park had just opened), so Suzanne and I waited and stretched while they rode and then we were on our way back out of the park, where Lisa was waiting for us with all sorts of goodies!

Pic courtesy of Moms Magical Miles
I gladly took some more Bio Freeze and reapplied some sunscreen.  Thanks Lisa!!!!!

Heading out of the Animal Kingdom parking lot onto Osceola Parkway we passed the mile 14 sign and I started to get excited - we were half way there!  This was my longest run in AWHILE and I was still feeling really good - perhaps I was actually going to pull this off!!!

I told the girls going into Osceola Parkway that this part of the course was by far one of the most boring runs I had ever been on.  Thankfully, we had each other to talk to and some rain to cool us off.  Plus, we knew from Lisa that Bonnie was about a half hour ahead of us so looking for her on the other side of the road was a delightful distraction!  Next thing we knew, we were turning into ESPN Wide World of Sports, and that's when we saw her!  It was a much needed boost to exchange some squeals and cheers!  

ESPN WWOS is probably my least favorite part of the course.  They had wet sponges waiting on us but honestly, it was so cool I really didn't want one, so I passed by.  I think having the girls to chat with was distracting me from the twists and turns inside ESPN.  We also had another banana station, which I took very willingly.  The volunteers were all very cheerful and encouraging, which helped as well.  It just seemed to pass by so quickly and I remember telling the girls on our way out that we had two stops left - Hollywood Studios and then home to Epcot!

We knew that once we hit Hollywood Studios we were safe from being swept, which was good because Wendy's ankle was starting to bother her so it was reassuring to know that we were not going to get pulled from the course.  Running down the entrance to Hollywood Studios, I recalled that the first time I ran the marathon two years ago, it was this point where I realized I WAS going to finish and I began crying.  This year was really no different - and my friends did the same.  I was so proud of us!  But we still had to fight through the crowds on the narrow walkway to the Boardwalk area - and by the time we fought that mess and passed by the Yacht and Beach Clubs, we were more than ready to be done.

Soon after we entered the World Showcase Wendy had to stop running - the pain had just become too much for her.  We were going to stop and all finish together but she insisted we go ahead and Amy stayed back with her, so Suzanne and I found ourselves alone as we headed to the finish.  I remembered from 2013 that this was the worst part - I was tired, my legs were hurting, my lungs were hurting, and I was ready to be done.  Surprisingly this year was MUCH different.  I WAS tired, but not near as much.  My legs did hurt a tad, but I was still able to run our 2:1 ratios and I believe we even picked up pace a bit.  And my lungs weren't screaming at me either.  I'm not sure what was different this go round but it was definitely a good different.  We were almost to the Mexico pavillion when we got a pleasant surprise - Mer and Brookr from Scootadoot had spotted us!!!  It was SO nice to get a hug and some cheers (along with a sip or two of a margarita) right towards the end - it was just the push we needed to take us home.

Pic courtesy of Scootadoot
6 hours and 38 minutes after starting, Suzanne and I crossed the finish line.  We had finished the Goofy Challenge.

Still shot of the live feed on the Disney Parks Blog 
Cue the ugly cry.  Cuz OH MAN was it ugly.

You can see it starting in this pic.  Side note - I did purchase this pic (all of them actually!) but I haven't downloaded it yet - whomp whomp

I wasn't supposed to do this, and yet, I did.  And I wasn't really in any more pain than I would expect after running 39.2 miles.  My doctor told me at my first visit that there was probably no way I would be physically capable of finishing both races.  But nothing motivates me better than a challenge ;)  I defied the odds - and I did it with my BRFs by my side.  I couldn't have asked for a better ending!!!

PS - I absolutely do not condone not following doctor's advice; they are the professionals for a reason!  Like I said, I defied the odds but my outcome could have been a lot different, in a BAD way.  Please always consult with a doctor when you have an injury and follow their instructions so you can come back even stronger!!

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