The Story of a Disney Marathoner

Chapter 111                                 The Final Chapter

Ok, so I’ve never said I always make the best decisions in terms of my health, but this was the best decision I ever made for me. I’ll pick up where I left off on Thursday night.

As you may recall, Thursday was a hectic day and one that only leads to this being that much more of a grand acheivement. Two stress fractures in both knees. I fully believe that both the Ortho and my FP new I would toe the line and give my best regardless. I did promise everyone that if the pain became too intense I would quit. No questions asked. I had no intention of permanently injuring myself. But I had to try. Or should I say, I had to at least start.

Let me just say that the whole RunDisney experience is one everyone should experience. This was the best one yet for me from the moment we arrived in Florida at the airport. If you’ve ever stayed at a Disney resort you know they take care of everything, and it is so worth staying at one, even the economy ones. We arrived at the airport and our bags are magically already transported to our rooms. We hop on a bus and are whisked away to our home for the next three nights. No messy lines. Travel already arranged. It’s great.

ArriveGrpPic

Resort2

We arrive and check-in. Then immediately hop on another bus, provided for us already, to the expo. This was awesome. We grab our bibs and goody bags. No lines. They are very efficient. We head to the runners shopping mecha.

Expo

The first thing I did was go sign my name up on the waiting list at the KT Tape booth. I thought if I taped up both of my legs for ITBS that would greatly help. 2 1/2 hours later it was my turn. This was a very busy booth. Let me just say, this is a magic tape. I had been hurting constantly for days and as soon as I hopped off of the table I immediately felt better. It was not mental I swear.

KtTape

After which, we did some more looking around, which was way more walking than I wanted to do, but I seriously felt better. We returned to the resort, got some dinner and turned in by 8:30PM. We had to wake up at 3:30AM the next morn for the half marathon for my sister.

So I woke up around 3AM because my internal clock is more than efficient. We were out the door and heading to the bus by 4:15AM. We arrived at the race. They had a party going on. DJ spinning music, characters dancing and taking pictures, many food options, humongous TV beside the DJ.

PreRaceParty

But it was COLD. By mid afternoon it was around 70. After she finished we headed back. Again, I did more walking and standing than I would have liked, especially with my current physical condition and 26 miles in my immediate future.

After the 1/2, we went back to the expo where I listened to a star studded (at least to runners) panel speak. Jenny Hadfield, Susan Paul, Kevin Hanson, Jeff Galloway, Hal Higdon

CoachesPanel

and the Hanson Team, you may recognize Desiree Davila who placed 2nd at Boston.

HansonTeam

The next morning, we woke at 3:00AM (I was awake by 2:30AM) and headed to the buses by 3:45AM. Once we arrived, same setup but a whole lot more people around. I bid DH and sister farewell and starting making my way to the corrals. 30 minutes later I arrive. This was a long walk and they herded us along the way. Once there they had a stage up with a monsterous TV with Mickey, Donald and Goofy all on stage dancing. It was great. With every corral they let loose we had fireworks. Absolutely exciting! By this time I was sitting waiting to cross over to the other side where where the starting line awaited. I wanted to stay off my feet as much as possible since I woke up this morn with pain. I was definitely not expecting to get any mileage under my feet. But decided I would go until I could go no longer.

Not even into mile one I was worried I wouldn’t even make it two miles. But I had decided the night before to do a 1:1 shuffle. This would keep my feet very low to the ground to help alleviate constant hard impact and conserve energy. I mean lets face it. I hadn’t done a long run since Thanksgiving weekend and that was only 18 miles and probably should not have been there to begin with.

I was able to maintain the pain level low throughout the whole race. I was very surprised.  Maybe it was the adrenaline.  It all went by very quickly. I never got tired even at the end. If it was not for my right foot, I probably could have kept going. But the last two miles were the worst only because the top of my right foot started to ache and it just did not feel right. My mind was telling me to take it easy so I stayed around a 17 minute pace for the last two coming in. I did not care about time so was not worried. My only goal was to cross the line before the sweepers. And with that in mind, it allowed me to stop multiple times throughout the race to take pictures of the course as well as wait in lines to take pictures with characters. More than I have here. Most of them Disney took and I cannot wait to see. But I will post what I was able to take with my phone.

RunBalloon

The big Mickey hands waving to us and jamming

RunBigHands

Come on, how many times do you see this?  Runners under and on the bridge.

RunBridge

Ahhh the castle!

RunCastle

Running through Epcot.  All we heard was “runners watch you step, speed bumps ahead”.  It was quite funny.

RunEpcot

Running through Futureland

RunFutureLand

Hollywood Studios

RunHollStudios

Magic Kingdom

RunMagicKingdom

Main Street was still decorated

RunMainStreet

You gotta hate the shorts! They did not make for a photogenic picture.

RunMinnie

RunPocahontas

I did make a few aid stations stops to rub down in BioFreeze. This is some good stuff!

A wonderful mile marker to see

RunMile20

And with all of what started out on Thursday as a useless year of training, ended up with what I wanted most….. the medal!

RunMedalRW

Now to anyone thinking of doing a Disney race….. Do Not and I repeat, Do Not do it for time. There are several bottle necks that are almost less than two person shoulder to shoulder wide. This is for fun only and fun you will have. They did a great job. There are adequate hydration stations and even two banana stops (for which I was grateful). They even toward the end had three stations that gave out candy. There was music and characters spread out all along the course. I will definitely do this again, hopefully uninjured going in. Do I think it was worth the risk? Oh Heck Yeah! I can walk around today, albeit slowly, but am doing very well. My knees did me justice and I am still smiling.

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