Goal (finish the Goofy Challenge) accomplished.
I’ve taken a few days before writing this to process the whole experience. (I’d hoped to be able to put some pictures up, but I won’t have nearly as many because right now FB and iPhoto are not playing nicely. Boo!) I didn’t want to write an entry that would basically be an initial gut reaction to the whole experience. Hopefully a couple of days (and a good bit of sleep) later has provided me with some distance and a more balanced view of everything. We’ll see. 🙂
I had toyed with the idea of doing the Goofy Challenge (a half marathon on Saturday and full marathon on Sunday) for a year of so, and figured it would likely be a one-and-done thing for me. So since this was to be the 10th anniversary of the challenge I figured it was as good a time as any. The training was definitely challenging, and there were times I wondered if I could do it. Then, four blocks from my apartment, Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were assassinated as they ate their lunch in their vehicle, and I decided to dedicate my running of the Goofy Challenge to them.
I left for Orlando once I got out of school on Thursday afternoon. I think the trip to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort took as long as the flight, but it was one of those things. Usually Disney’s Magical Express is quicker and more magical. Adding to that, I was assigned a room in the Jamaica village at the resort, which meant I had to take the internal shuttle around rather than just walking over to the Barbados village (which is what I requested) – other than checking in and checking out I really don’t care where I am, but just for transporting luggage it’s easier I think to be able to just walk over. Oh well…a definite first world problem. They’ve redone the rooms now and they’re really pretty.
Friday morning I got up early to head to the Expo. While I was waiting on that bus to start running, a couple of the busses that were 10K transportation were returning with runners. I couldn’t help but cringe when I saw a couple of people all but crawling off the bus – people who were wearing Dopey bibs. I have no clue how they were planning to make it through the half ad the full, but I congratulated them on the 10K finish all the same. I got on the first bus over from CBR and we were clearly one of the earlier busses there as at least the packet pick-up was pretty empty. For once I wasn’t in the only line along a row where there were small lines – I walked right up to my number range and got my bib and directions to get my picture made on the way out and where to pick up my shirts.
The photo thing is new for the challenges. You get your picture taken with your bib at the Expo, and then you are checked upon finishing the race. Now, we had been told that we would be checked after the half as well, but we were just herded through another tent – someone said it was to get us used to that, but I don’t know. I do know at the end of the full we had to pass tables where someone had a computer and typed our bib into it, looked at the screen, and as long as we matched waved us on through. The theory behind this is pretty much because some people got the idea that it would be cool to pair up and someone run the half and someone run the full (what they’d do with the ONE challenge medal I have no clue) so this was to prevent that. And also people making copies of the bibs to run and/or try to get the medals (note to runners: STOP POSTING PICTURES OF YOUR BIB BEFORE A RACE – at the very least, cover the number up!!; note to those in charge of medals: LEGIT BIBS (for most races I know of now) HAVE A TAG ON THE BACK – CHECK THAT IF IN DOUBT!), so theoretically this would prevent that. Though since they weren’t checking after the half, as long as the person whose name the bib was in ran the full, it would be harder to catch them. (And yes, people actually do this – I even met one woman on the course who flat out SAID her husband did the half and she was doing the full…I had nothing to write down her bib, and it was raining – and we were not near an official aid station or med tent, so I didn’t get to report her, but I wanted to.)
The expo wasn’t super crowded, but as always, you have to be aware of others and be prepared to dodge people and/or groups who like to stop in the middle of the path and not move. Happens everywhere. I got my bag and shirts, then took a moment to check the shirts and make sure all the seams were finished and the sizes were right. Then I walked over to the runDisney merchandise booth to get an “I Did It!” shirt for Goofy (to be wrapped in the bag and not looked at until I’d finished it) only to discover that though they had tons of men’s and women’s shirts for the half, full and Dopey, they only had a handful of men’s small, medium, and XX-large Goofy shirts. No doubt because it was the 10th anniversary, the EBay vultures had swooped down on the merchandise and bought a lot of it. The generic runDisney stuff, and even the generic race stuff I’m not as concerned about (though I do think there should be limits on the amount like we had to do at the store for Frozen merchandise), but I really wish that for the “I Did It!” shirts (and anything else that might be finish-specific), they would require that either you pre-order it OR you can only purchase ONE of them WITH SHOWING YOUR BIB because it’s just not fair. I’m sure they were out of the Goofy ones by noon – and the other shirts were all still available in the merch tent at the marathon gathering area. Granted, my main reason for wanting it is I’m planning to get a t-shirt quilt made with all my “I Did It!” shirts, but I’d wanted to be able to wear it on Monday and with those sizes that wasn’t happening. I ended up just getting a small, and it’s still wrapped up in the bag where it will stay until I get the kit to put together to have the quilt made.
Leaving the Expo, those of us going to CBR waited a while – seeing the other routes come and go. When a CBR bus did show up, we learned the reason – there were at least FOUR strollers that had been put under the bus. Now, all the information makes it clear that strollers are NOT allowed in the Expo, so why they even pick them up, I don’t know. It is definitely annoying though – knowing that the delay was to put things that aren’t allowed on board the bus.
I got back to CBR finally to drop my stuff off, then headed to the Magic Kingdom to meet Erica. We had fun getting food, riding rides, and walking around. My Disney tradition is to see Wishes the night before my race (in this case the first one), so we were staying through that. According to the times guide, the Main Street Electrical Parade wasn’t supposed to be going on Friday night, but when we were in the Emporium, I heard the music. Erica was on the phone, so I just sort of squealed and ran out the door. I heard her say “Wait, something’s happening. Beth just ran out the door.” and then she came out. Given that there were only a couple of people in front of us, I was clearly not the only one who thought it wasn’t on. But it was great to see, and Wishes was spectacular as always.
Got back to my room and laid out Flat Beth so I was ready to go in the morning
And then it was bed for an early wake-up call. I like to be on an early bus over – the first or second if I can – just to be able to pee, to wander around, and to get into the corral early. There was a bus waiting at the Jamaica stop, but he advised us he could take us, but he was on special assignment to transport one of the wheelchair racers and wouldn’t be leaving until that person got there (and most likely as long as he was there none of the other buses would stop). I opted to take slightly more control of my fate and walk over to another stop. And that driver was kind of clueless – he didn’t get that he needed to be in the bus lane, so we had to get escorted over there. Kinda crazy.
Got to the staging area and got to see Rick and Gina before I headed over to walk to the corral. I ended up along the front row, so we got to hold the ribbon while we moved over to the other lanes and then walked towards the starting line. New skill! Haha! About 45 minutes after the half started, we were off! (And yes, I heard from someone in corral P that the first finisher had crossed right around the time they were starting.) As usual with most Disney races, it was pretty crowded. I do kind of wish that they would make a lane for those who want to stop to take pictures along Main Street and through the castle and a lane for those of us who don’t want to stop, because the castle especially gets dangerously crammed in there. I was able to keep moving slowly (and I’m not fast anyway, so you KNOW it was slow if I say it was slow) but some people said they got stuck in a complete standstill. But you just have to know going in that it’s going to be crowded. I actually had a really good half – I felt good the whole way through, and I actually had to make myself start just walking at Mile 8 to save something for Sunday. I probably should have started that earlier, but… I finished and got my medal
Went back to the resort to shower, then headed to Downtown Disney to meet Erica and eat at T-Rex. It was ok, but I won’t be rushing to eat there again. The company was good though. Then it was back to the resort to rest and relax for the rest of the day. I opted for some pasta from the food court – I should have gone with the pizza…more on that later – and then got Flat Beth ready for another run
The back of the shirt says “…Just Goofy”
I actually got in bed with the lights out and tv on sleep timer to try and go to sleep around 7. I did get to sleep early, but the wind was blowing just right so that at 9pm, I was awakened by Illuminations at EPCOT. Good times. Part of the magic of Disney though! And I managed to get back to sleep pretty easily. Then the alarm went off and it was time to do it all over again.
Again, I got to see Rick in the staging area. Also Erica. Then as I was getting ready to walk over to get set to walk to the corrals, I met Deb and her friend Becca. So that was cool.
Becca took the picture.
The front row of Corral M was pretty much the same as the day before – we were pros at ribbon holding and walking. 🙂
We got off about the same time as the day before, and things started off great. I was feeling good and confident. And then… My usual cold water, coffee, cold water trick hadn’t worked, so I knew I’d need to find a bathroom, but the lines for the portapots were so long I decided to try and make it to Magic Kingdom and real restrooms – even with a line for some reason those seem to go quicker. Well, when I got to one…I’ll just say there was a moment of panic that something was really wrong with me until marathon brain cleared enough to remember that I’d had pasta the night before with RED sauce. And remember that I had that feeling I should have changed to pizza when I saw the butter/oil dripping off the noodles. Given that knowledge, I decided to keep going and just keep an eye on things – and if it continued THEN freak out. (It didn’t…it was clearly the over oiled noodles and sauce.) I’d lost a little bit of time with that stop, but I was still ok on pace. I did make one portapot stop between the speedway and Animal Kingdom just in case (wasn’t necessary, but better to stop than become a viral youtube video for the wrong reason). At that point I’d gone to pretty much a solid walk, but was generally feeling ok.
Making the turn to go into Animal Kingdom, I was going to put one of my nuun tablets into my bottle and refill it at the upcoming water stop. Only that tablet never got close to the bottle. Attempt two, I decided to put that tablet onto the top and let it fall into the bottle from there. It fell all right. Onto the ground. I had ONE tablet left and over half the race to go. MELTDOWN. But I got it together – kind of – and kept going. I opted not to take any more extra time for Everest. But I did take a bit of time for my Grave Digger picture
Why be boring and lay down when you can be a sitting corpse?? 🙂 Best thing about this was as I was sitting down, my playlist which was on shuffle popped over to the Crossing Jordan themes. Could not have planned it better if I tried. Haha!!
I got up and got going, but it didn’t take long for things to start going wrong. My heel was hurting, my shin was cramping so bad I thought I’d given myself a stress fracture… I was going, but struggling. And then an angel whose name I wish I knew (I know he’s a Perfectly Goofy runner who was going Dopey this year) came up beside me and started talking to me. He said “As fast as you’re walking, you do NOT have a stress fracture. It’s a cramp. And you are going to make it!” along with other inspirational stuff – which of course made me get all weepy. It helped so much. It just made me weepy. Once he was pretty sure I was ok, he moved on, and I watched him go from struggling person to struggling person – talking with them and walking with them for a few hundred yards. So I was good until we got into Sports.
Give me an out and back any day over aimless wandering around a complex of fields on the sidewalk. Talk about something feeling like junk miles. It just made me more and more annoyed, and I let it affect my pace. When I saw my split when I crossed the 20 mile mark, I got so mad at myself for letting it slip that far I went as fast as I could possibly go. I remembered who I was dedicating the race to, and I was not going to let myself be swept. If medical pulled me, that would be one thing, but I was going to do everything in my power to finish. I knew once I got into Studios I was off the roads and couldn’t be swept as long as I was moving, but I didn’t want to just move. I wanted to try and finish strong.
Chocolate always helps. I also saw Gina and her family just before the Hat, and that hug helped. I said my own good-bye to the Hat, which is going away, and made the turn towards the Yacht and Beach Club and Boardwalk. Just after Mile 24, there were a couple of women with a cooler and red cups. One of them said “Beer! Anyone want beer?” I looked at her and said “Seriously?” She said “Seriously!” and I held out my hand immediately. Best tasting beer EVER!!!
Made it around and into EPCOT and I swear there were more photographers in there than I remember. Lots of shots of me looking like I’m smiling but I’m gritting my teeth just wanting to get to the end. I saw Katie, Megan and Jenny as I was about to round the corner backstage to the finish, and that was great also. Then there was the gospel choir and it was just a couple of turns. I was hurting but did manage a shuffle-run over the finish line – where I let out a primal scream, just relieved to be done. 7:03 and change, so I may not get a certificate, but that’s ok. I finished.
And I got my Mickey medal
In a case of marathon brain, I thought I’d posted the one I took on the bus and deleted it. So this was yesterday at school.
And then I headed to the tent where a guy typed in my bib number, checked the screen and me, and gave me the ok. Got my Goofy medal!
I just got my food box and bottle of water and headed to the bus. Shower, phone call home, and I headed to EPCOT to meet up with Erica. We hung out for a while, then I went to meet Deb and Becca and Becca’s friend at the Biergarten. Cool place! After dinner, I wandered over to Norway to get a school bread to eat in the morning
I went into First Aid for some Tylenol (the woman came out from the back, saw my medal and said “Tylenol?” – she had seen a lot of us with medals I guess), then watched Illuminations and headed back to CBR.
Monday was Disney’s Animal Kingdom with breakfast at Tusker House. All good things! My flight was delayed, but I made it back in one piece in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Overall it was a great trip.
Immediately after the race, I wasn’t exactly regretting it, but I wasn’t a happy camper. I was tired, I was hurting, and my stomach was acting up. But now that I’ve got a few days’ distance on it, I can honestly say I’m glad I did it. I proved that I can stick it out when things get tough like that, and I can make it. It may not be pretty, and it may not be easy, but I can make it. I learned that the community of runners overall is made up of some pretty fantastic people who will help pick others up and encourage them along the way. Yeah, looking at it now, it was a good experience.
Doesn’t mean I’m going to do more full marathons – it’s half marathons for me from here on out. But I did it, and I can honestly say I’m glad I did.