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.

I have cried a weeks worth of hydration away

Chapter 110

Guess a years long journey toward a Disney first marathon has been stolen. At least that is how I feel. I went to the doctor yesterday to see options for me to be able to complete the race even if pain occurs. He decided to call an Ortho. From there I went directly to the hospital and had x-rays done on both knees. This came out normal. A little hope returns.

Today they scheduled me for a bone scan. This was an ordeal. Luckily there was a very very nice Ortho in this area. He agreed to see me today even though his office was closed. After the bone scan, they called him to see when he could see me. It was 4:30 PM by this time. They told me the scans looked normal so I was very hopeful. A little more hope returns.

I get to the office and he asks me to explain where the pain is exactly. I show him both spots on the outside of both knees. He pushed on them and they were very tender. He did other tests which caused no pain. Then he looked at me and told me that he is aware that the x-ray tech told me my bone scan was normal and that he did not agree. My heart sank.

He walked me to his office and showed me the scans. He noted the white spots exactly where I showed him I had pain. Then he gave me horrible news. I have two stress fractures in both knees.  We could also see white streaks down my shins from fractures.

At least that explains why even with all of the rolling and yoga and ice the pain has been progressively getting worse over the past couple of weeks instead of better. We talked about what could happen if I attempted the race anyway and how long it would take to heal as it is right now. By this time the tears were streaming down my face and I was apologizing profusely for being such a baby.

I asked about a run/walk plan and if he felt I’d be okay. He mentioned that runners will run through extreme pain because it is in our nature and that he knows I’ll probably give it a try anyway. I did say I would take off a full six weeks after the race but I did want to give it a try doing a run/walk. If the pain hits like it did this past weekend, I would sit my red puffy face on the side walk and cheer on everyone else as they passed me by.

As I was checking out, it took everything I had not to just burst out from the pain I was feeling and not the knee pain but emotional.  A years worth of training and high hopes are now gone. I barely made it out of the office door before I lost it. Unfortunately the poor lady at the desk shared some of my pain watching my extreme disappointment.  I thought she was going to cry right along with me.

I can not begin to explain the pain I am feeling. I feel like my dreams have been crushed. And I do fully understand that by doing the right thing and not pushing it during the race I will heal to race another day, but a year!!!!!  Training and excitement for a full year.  All of the sacrifices by me and my family so I could train.  I feel like it was such a waste of time.  The closer I got home the further I spiraled.  And unfortunately we had a house full of people when I crawled into the door.

First marathon, you only get one… DISNEY!!!

Originally posted on The Loop January 5, 2012

Taper Friggin Crazy

Chapter 109

So we login to the Loop and read all about runner’s experiences to hopefully gain insight into our own path of enlightenment that we have all chosen. We talk about training, we give race reports and sometimes a few blogs about ‘how absolutely friggin crazy you feel during a taper!’

We all sit down and read these posts when we come across them, give encouragement, let them know we believe in them and the big day is almost here but you really really really cannot understand until you experience it yourself. I so feel for everyone now whom I have told that they are great, their training has gone well and they are definitely ready. Now I know all you are actually thinking about is, I want to run today…. CRAP it’s not on my schedule, I’m cutting back. How about a quick ride, CRAP another rest day??? Really?

So how do I handle all these nerves usually? I RUN!!! How am I actually handling it in taperville?

That’s right. I’m so hungry I am eating anything and everything whether I like it or not. Or at least I think I’m hungry. I sure do feel hungry. And what a horrible time of year to go through taperville! There is always something nutritious laying around to grab. So not the case…..

And where did all of these aches and pains come from? I mean I’m doing nothing comparitively and yet I hurt more? Logic please???? Man my brain is in overdrive and what do I want to do? RUN

CRAP… it’s not on the schedule.

Originally posted on The Loop December 27, 2011

On the Twelfth Day

Chapter 108

Current note:  by this time I was full in taperville and the jacket was a little tight

(Sing to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas)

On the twelfth day of taper
Rundisney gave to me

Infinity and beyond,

An apple for some sleep,

Pixie dust for travel,

Mufasa – oooooohhhhh,

A thumping foot of nerves,

A ladder for that tower,

A carpet ride adventure,

Ba-lloons to lift me uuupppPP,

A push in the rabbit hole,

A visit from Sulley,

Honeybees in my feet,

AND fairy butterflies internally.

———————————-

But what is it that I really need? A fairy godmother to help me cross that line:

I wish I wish upon a star

For healthy knees to take me far

And if they try to fade away

I’ll wish to play another day

Originally posted on The Loop January 4, 2012

Spinning to the Tune of a Sore Tush

Chapter 101

I arrived last night at the YMCA to discover they replaced all the spin bikes with new ones. That was nice as the others had long pass seen their glory days. However, this meant the new ones were a little stiff (which isn’t too bad for me right now) and the seats hard as rocks.

Seeing as I could not complete my run this past weekend or Monday night, I arrived to class an hour early, did a 30 minute steady climb increasing every five minutes then rolling hills until class started. So I got in a 1:45 hour ride. I was able to walk after so all was well and my legs felt stronger for it.

I have a 60 min run tonight and I’m putting the last two out of my head so I do not sike myself out. “21 days, 21 days, 21 days”. It’s been tough, but I’ve done well handling the obstacles that have been presented to me.  So two failed runs the month before my big race should not destroy four months of work, right? RIGHT!

Originally posted on The Loop December 14, 2011

My Feet are Starting to Burn

Chapter 93

Not in a bad way. I had a 60 min tempo on schedule today for which I usually just do 6 miles. I felt really good today so strapped on the Kinvaras and headed out the door. I planned on sticking to 9:15 for 6 miles but the feet turn over just felt ‘right’ going a little faster so I let them.

I hit 3 miles in 25:41!!!! A PB by far. I took a quick jump up and down break and took back off to finish out the 6 at a much slower pace. The wind had picked up just a little so I just let my legs do what they wanted again. Seemed to be sticking between 10:30 and 11. I completed the 6 in 57:02. Still a good time for me and seems weird with the last three miles being so relaxed.

Taking a step back, my Sunday long run on only 8 miles went great. I finished it in 1:17. I felt I could do more, but i’m sticking to the mileage on schedule.

Originally posted on The Loop November 21, 2011

Sticking Sixteen

Chapter 88

Anyone who speaks with a runner and boasts that there is no pleasure or adventure in life has obviously never actually listened to a runner. Yes we may ramble and eyes our become all sparkley when someone causually asks how our weekend went. As we dive into mileage, scenary and things we saw, and they look away….. we all know, have read or have shared in our own experiences that just cannot happen at any other time than during a run. Whether these experiences are good or bad, they are ours and we would not trade them for anything.

Today was supposed to be a cut back week for me, but since I could only hit 2.40 miles last Sunday I thought I’d see how things went and make last week the cut back. I spent the morning with the family, made them all breakfast and did some cleaning. It was 65 degrees with a slight breeze. Just too perfect. I headed out to the trail around noon.

I wanted to keep my pace around 10:30 and did for the most part; between 9:45 and 10:30. The first 10 miles went well. I could feel that if I made the wrong move, my knee would rebell. But it did me proud. The bad part hit just after 10. My stomach decided it would rebell instead. I turned around, booked it around 9:15 to the car and hit 11.20 miles by the time I left for home. 20 minutes later I was in better shape to finish up and decided to just go around the neighborhood for the remaining 4.80.

This was going to be the hardest miles period. I already had just over 11 under my belt, sat on my rear for 20 minutes and was going to go back out for another 5? I was doubtful that it would happen, but I was excitedly wrong.

16 miles. I swear I never thought I would see it, especially in 2:50:00 (I say as my eyes sparkle and my legs ache). I wouldn’t switch the soreness for a lazy Sunday any day. Disney, I’m coming for you!

Originally posted on The Loop November 6, 2011

A Double Gripping Morning

Chapter 81

I just did not hear the alarm go off this morning. Usually I wake up a couple of minutes before it chimes its music, but not this morning. So I walked into our building at 7:45 with a coffee mug in each hand. Why? Hubby made coffee for me so there is 1, then I decided to stop at 7-11 and get a bisquit and could not resist getting a pumpkin.

Last night after work I attended the second of three spin classes I take per week. I swear we saw Zeus. The whole class was an uphill climb. We never experienced the ‘rolling’ hills. So I can now say I’ve climbed Mt Olympus on my stationary charriot of fire.

But dumb me finally arrived home around 8ish, showered, ate and instead of going to bed plopped on the couch to watch a dvr’d horror flick followed by Grey’s. I love my DVR! I barely remember getting into bed and evidently was not there long enough.

I have two choices for today’s run. Either an interval or 45 min tempo. Guess I’ll decide as 5pm comes closer.

Original posted on The Loop October 21, 2011

I Knew That Dern Map Was Wrong

Chapter 73

All those runs at the hateful trail I knew I was not running 11 min miles. I had a tempo scheduled for tonight. I was packed to hit the YMCA treadmill, but after sitting in the office all day looking out the window at the beautiful sky I decided to run outside. I generally do not get off work until 5PM or later so the fact that days are becoming shorter and soon it will be dark before I leave gave me another reason to hit the trail while I still had the chance.

Well since I am at work, the closest trail to me is that hateful trail. The one I love to hate. I had Xena with me today so I was actually excited to prove that map wrong. My plan was to run three loops. Unfortunately my stomach (NOT MY IT BAND!!! 😀 ) decided I had to cut it short, so only did two. By the time I hit stop, it read 3.75 miles. The map states it is only 3.50. Oh What Eva! 3.75 miles in 36 minutes even. I can definitely handle that.

I went out and decided I wasn’t really going to pay too much attention to pace. I was going strictly by form. I paid attention to every step I took. After one round I found I tried to become a heel striker. Man did I correct that real quick. Luckily with my Wave Riders I could feel more of the road and how my foot actually fell. This is a good thing.

So the good news? No IT Band issue. However I did only get in 3.75 miles so who knows what it would have done on a longer run.

Originally posted on The Loop October 5, 2011

Running Around All Wet

Chapter 67

This was a busy weekend. It was DH’s 40th and he threw himself a big party. I say he threw it because he did all the planning, inviting, etc.

So Saturday morning, I got up early to head out to the gym. Since I’m training for this marathon I do not want to miss a work out and then fail January and berate my self with “if you just would have done all your workouts…..” So I did my 90 minutes of spin and sped home to clean and decorate.

Luckily this was my cut back week since we stayed up late watching a movie once everyone left. Okay, so they stayed up late. I think I was about 15 minutes in and heard myself snore a few times before nothingness.

I awoke Sunday morning to rain. So I decided to cook everyone a big breakfast and clean up the kitchen. Then headed out around noon to get in my six miles. It was great. I unplugged and just listened to the rain hitting the trail and the rim of my hat. I took it real easy. I never even looked at my watch until I was done. One of the best fun runs yet even if it was slow.

I also ran again without my ITB strap. I did feel it a little but with only six miles, it was nothing. Not only do I believe it is the new shoes, but since I wore the same ones yesterday as I wore in the half (and we know the pain hit five miles into that), I think it has a lot to do with The Stick. I bought one at the RnR expo and have been using it since. I have actually made more progress than just with the roller. I can also tell the difference on days that I have used it after and those I have not. I was hoping it wasn’t just some expensive gonna collect dust gadget. It has definitely paid for itself in my mind.

Originally posted on The Loop September 26, 2011