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.



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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


The big Mickey hands waving to us and jamming


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


Ahhh the castle!


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


Running through Futureland


Hollywood Studios


Magic Kingdom


Main Street was still decorated


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



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

A wonderful mile marker to see


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


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

UGG I Fracked Up

Chapter 107

I have somehow screwed my schedule, or I invented a time portal, went through it a week ahead and then erased my memory. I have lost a week somewhere. I have 22 miles on my schedule for this Saturday. If you think about me only having 13 days until the marathon that would give me just one weekend between my long run and the race. So basically just a two week taper.

I’m a little worried about that as this whole scenario is new to me. Yes I’m in marathon nube crazy mode. I spoke with the spin instructor tonight after class as she talks about how she did Philly this year and she seems to think it should be ok. Perhaps take it to 20 miles but that two weeks should be fine. What do you guys think? I know many of you are marathon veterans. I haven’t done a long run in three weeks due to injuries and that was only 18 miles.

On to tonights workout, did 1:30 of spin. I arrived early and got in a 45 minute ride before class started. She did an endurance ride tonight and I was glad. It was exactly what I needed. Now if I can just calm my hyperactive mind I may sleep tonight.

Originally posted on The Loop December 22, 2012

Rain Rain – Oh the Shame

Chapter 106

Today was beautiful. Well to a runner anyway. It is 64* and slightly rainy. I decided since I only had a 20 minute hard tempo on the schedule to pull it off at lunch. I grabbed my gear and headed to the hateful trail. All was going well. No pain anywhere and hitting an 8:20 pace almost too easily. Then the wind hit and slowed me to around a 9 – 9:30. Thus okay as this was some fierce wind.

The halt to all that happiness happened around the backside of the trail where my blood sugar plummeted. Luckily I was near a bench and sat down. Being it was rainy, there were only about four of us running the trail which is a good thing because being sick on the side of a trail that is open is no fun what so ever! To say I was slightly embarased is a complete understatement, but there was nothing I could do. They ran past and looked upon me with pitty. I’m sure they’ve been here at least once or twice themselves and understood the look in my eyes. Once I felt better I walked to the Y, showered and came back to work and ate, an hour late……

I should have known better. I only had a small bowl of grits and a pear for breakfast, that followed a complete sleepless night, and that was 3 1/2 hours before I left to run.

Note to self, always pack jelly beans or a bar. You never known when the opportunity to avoid the treadmill will occur.

Originally posted on The Loop December 21, 2011

Tonight I Took a Breath

Chapter 105

With only 15 days left, tonight I finally feel a little better. It was a regular spin night and I arrived an hour early. I decided instead of doing all spin, I’d head upstairs.

I packed my Kinvaras in the bag with my spin shoes and headed uber charged into the door on a mission. Changed quickly and hit the dreadmill. My plan was to do 30 minutes, since that is when the belt would stop anyway. I figured I’d go slow and get a little over 2 miles in. Instead of walking for the usual five minutes, I was raring to go after two. So I cranked ‘er up to 10min pace and monitored my achilles the whole time.

This was actually a difficult two miles even this slow. I’m thinking it may have been the fact that I was all achilles every minute. “how’s it feeling now; was that a twinge; does it feel tight; am I loosing it”. But I did not feel a thing during this run. Granted I kept it to two miles (2.30 actually not counting warm up and cool down walk) only so I was off within 25 minutes total time. Sigh of relief!

I then headed to the spin room hunkered into profile and cranked out a 30 road ride before the class began. Unfortunately by the time the class actually started I had developed a nasty side stitch that remained for two hours after the class stopped. This made it hard to get my heart rate above 170 but I stuck through it.

Now it’s midnight here, I’m wide awake and wishing we had street lights. I would probably head out just because. But since we have loose dogs, crazy teenagers that fly down our little narrow road and mega holes along the 1.25 mile loop I no longer attempt the sunless escapes.

Originally posted on The Loop December 20, 2011

I Pushed Out 8

Chapter 104

This was a cut back week. Actually it was an injury treatment week but not by choice. This achilles thing I guess worries me the most because this is the one I ruptured in 2005. I was on crutches for four months (at which time I had my wedding – you can imagine the pictures…..) so this little pain scares me. That is probably why with the slightest pain and I quit, immedaitely. Well today I pushed a little. It was a busy weekend and I really needed the break.

Yesterday we spent all day at the Williamsburg outlet mall then today at another mall visiting with Santa and finishing up our shopping. So when we arrived home, I decided to try for a run. Yes I said try. This whole week has been one failure after another, so I dialed down the determination aspect of my personality and said “try”.  It was around 40*, kind of windy but the sun was shining.

I hit the trail and an older gentleman came up to me and said I needed more clothes on.  I laughed and told him I would warm up so he just smiled and got into his car.  Kind of off topic but it always strikes me as funny to hear that.  I know how sweaty I will get but guess it is hard to understand until you actually do it yourself.  I slowly took off down the trail, presently cold yes but for only about five minutes more.

Around mile two I started to feel a couple of sharp pains. I was crushed. I stopped, massaged my achilles and calf (felt no pain doing this btw) and decided to just turn around and hopefully get in the 4. On the way back, I was able to adjust my stride enough that the achilles twinged just a little but I could comfortably keep running. So once I hit the end, I turned around again and repeated the four miles to give me my 8. I would have attempted two more but the sun was going down and there are no lights at all there. It would be total and complete darkness.

But I’m happy with the 8 even though I really worked hard the whole run to get them in. I kept it slow and steady. That was what was originally on the schedule so it was a successful day. My knees are achey but that may be due to the odd stride I was doing to prevent the achilles from hurting too badly. I’m glad I kept going. It gives me a tad bit more confidence that I will at least be able to finish the marathon in three weeks.

Originally posted on The Loop December 18, 2011

This Week I’m A Spinning Beast

Chapter 103

1:15 minutes tonight. Three nights in a row. Unfortunately due to traffic I could only get there 30 minutes early. I can spin pain free. I was going to do two miles on the treadmill before class, but walking into the gym my achilles was whispering to me. I read so many articles and posts about achilles issues today my mind is spinning also.

I did the pinch test and I feel no pain anywhere, so I’m going to take that as a good sign. Stopping as soon as it starts has probably been the best decision I’ve made in a while. I would usually just keep right on going, that runner’s denial thing.

Luckily this is a cut back week so only an 8 miler for the weekend. Hopefully I can nip this thing in the bud before it blows up more. If I can just get through March, I promise legs I’ll slow down. I want a PR for the Shamrock.

Originally posted on The Loop December 15, 2011

Now I’m Really Scared

Chapter 102

Another run bites the dust. 1.50 miles in and the achilles monster reared its head. This is not good.

So I called it quits and made my way to the spin room. I believe I huffed and puffed a little on the way. The room was empty which was probably a good thing as I plugged into my nano, hit the bottom of a hill and stayed there for 45 minutes singing every song that played. I only had one head pop in the doorway and smile. It put me in a slightly better mood although the sore tush is beyond sore now.

I’m getting ready to break out the roller and the stick and work the fool out of my legs. I’m also thinking about icing that achilles to see if that helps any.

I have spin tomorrow night but may try to get in two miles before class again. I’m hoping since I have at least done one 18 mile run that if I can keep my endurance up that will help me. I have already decided to drop my time goal and just enjoy Disney. Perhaps stop and take pictures along the route. I’ll time my next one.

Originally posted on The Loop December 14, 2011

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