Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Goofy Challenge 2013 - Marathon

I barely even know how to put this experience into words. It's no joke that the marathon is mental game. Beware: this is very wordy and not very picture-y. If you missed my half marathon recap, you can clickety here.

The morning of the marathon started out pretty much the same as the half marathon. Although, the buses were not arriving at the hotel as quickly as the day before and that was slightly nerve wracking for me.

We're scared. Very scared.
Who came up with this idea?!
We were supposed to meet up with Abby at the start and run together. Running a race with someone you've never met is always a gamble, especially 26.2 miles, but I had a feeling Abby was awesome and I'm so, so glad she tagged along with us. (More on that later.)

The three of us walked to the start  together and got into our corral. The marathon start was the same as the previous morning with fireworks and such.

I'll be honest, I didn't take very many pictures during the marathon. It was beyond hot. Luckily, Abby and Tara took a bunch, so hopefully they have some good shots.

I can not explain how hot and humid it was. I'm from Arizona, so heat shouldn't be a big deal, but winter can be chilly and my body could just not cool down. Even at the start at 5:00AM in the dark, I was dripping from the humidity.

It started to really get hot as we hit the Speedway. I wish I had a few more pictures, because there were some cool cars, etc, but I just wanted to keep moving.

Looks hot, doesn't it?

Abby and me

At that point, I still felt okay, my legs had held up and the three of us stuck together, sometimes leap frogging a little, but mostly together. We also ran into Fruitfly! She's fast enough to stop at pretty much all of the picture stops and still finish ahead of the sweepers. Rock star!

It wasn't until mile 10 that I started to feel the effects of having run a half marathon the day before. My legs started to feel some strain. I did take my traditional mile 10 picture, but somehow, I forgot all about taking anything after 13, which is a shame considering I've never seen a mile marker after 13.

Yep, it's the same as for the half...just in a different location.

We ran through ESPN Sports Complex and wove our way through various baseball fields and tracks. The heat was really getting to me at that point. I think we were at about mile 18 when one of the water stops had soaked sponges. I doused myself with water, but kept that sponge with me all the way until mile 25 when I accidentally threw it away with my water cup. I just kept rewetting it at every water stop.

Several times on the course I wanted to tear up, but it wasn't until after we passed mile 20 that I really started to feel like crying. It was so hot and draining that all I could think was to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I wasn't overly impressed with the mile 20 "spectacular" but I was certainly happy to have something to distract me from the ache in my legs. And then my Garmin wussed out and died. Asshole Garmin, how could you abandon me at mile 20?!?!

I guess technically, this counts as a mile marker past 10, right? Voila! Mile 20

At mile 21, I lost Tara. Abby was a little ways behind me so I stopped and waited for her, thinking I would catch up to Tara at some point, but I never did. For 21 miles, the three of us had cajoled and coaxed each other along. I was sad to lose Tara because it was such a milestone for both of us and for the first time, it was actually important to me to cross the finish line together. But at that point, Tara really needed to just keep moving and I needed to keep talking so I wouldn't focus on how miserable I was.

Thank God for Abby. She kept me sane, kept me moving those last 5 miles, and was an all around rock star. By mile 22, I knew I would finish, but I started to play mind games with myself about being swept or not making it within the time limit to get my Goofy medal. Abby reassured me that if I was denied my Goofy medal, she would throw down and demand they give it to me.

We ran through Hollywood Studios (anyone else have a hard time not calling it MGM?). The parks were open at this point, so it was crazy to see so many people. Occasionally, Disney employees would reroute the course slightly to let park goers cross the marathon course to get to other areas of the park. I guess I'm glad we ran through here, because we never made it to Hollywood Studios to visit later on.

Hollywood Studios

I accidentally snapped this pic. I like it.

After we left Hollywood Studios, we ran down a stretch of road and into Epcot. By Epcot, I got a second wind. Running through a gate into World Showcase was awesome. The parks were open and sound track music was blaring and I felt like I could run it out to the finish. Suddenly, though, it was more important to me to cross the finish with Abby. I was going to stick to her like glue, whether she wanted me to or not. (Luckily, she didn't seem to mind having me tag along - or she's great at hiding it. Hee hee)

It's amazing how much you can learn about a person spending hours together on a marathon course, especially in a trying situation like running your first full marathon in horrible conditions.

Just before mile 26, I found my amazing friend, Debra, that drove down from Jacksonville to see me finish my first marathon. I'm so grateful she went out of her way to be there. It was special. Thanks, Deb. :)

And then there it was: the finish line. I was going to be a marathoner and a Goofy Challenge finisher in one day. I hadn't given into the tears for 6 miles - and honestly I'm tearing up writing this - but I could see it. Something most people will never experience in their lifetime.

We crossed the finish line and I started sobbing. I got my marathon medal. I could hear vague discussion going on around me. A volunteer said something to Abby and I could hear her say that we were heading to the Goofy Challenge tent to get my medal. The volunteer told Abby to stay with me. I don't know if she was concerned about me or Abby. I was too focused on getting my Goofy medal.

Tara told me later that the volunteers were not giving people their medals until they had an open bottle of water in their hands with the cap off and were drinking. It was that serious, folks. Medics were everywhere and I saw multiple people being wheeled to first aid in wheel chairs.

I found Tara right by the Goofy tent and she was as choked up as me. And we ran into Fruitfly again. We took a few pictures, which I will have to steal from Abby or Fruitfly, since pulling out my phone seemed like a colossal amount of effort at that point.

Later, I heard many conversations about just how difficult this year's race was. One guy we talked to on the monorail on Monday told me that he usually runs a 5:30 marathon and it took him 7 hours. He also said that his coach normally runs a 3:30 and he ran a 4:30. Debra heard a similar story on her bus ride over, too. Another guy that has run all 20 of the WDW marathons said it took him over 7 hours because of the heat. So I guess I shouldn't feel too badly that I was in the same boat. Based on my half marathon times (when I'm actually trained and trying) I should easily be able to run a sub 6. I guess the upside is that it won't be too hard to PR the next time, right?

As soon as we were done, we all very clearly said, "never again." But then my rose colored glasses started to slip into place and I actually started considering it. Fortunately, I'm not the only one, since Fruitfly pretty much announced on my page that she's doing Goofy 2015. And yep, I think I'm going to try for that, too. Maybe I'll be fast enough by then to keep up with her!

Thanks, Tara, Abby, and Fruitfly for sharing in this magical, amazing, horrible, scary and life changing event. I couldn't have gotten through it without you guys. Xoxoxo


  1. Love that medal! You should be so proud of yourself!!! WAY TO GO!!!!

    1. Thank you!! I can barely believe it myself. It was quite an emotional day, that's for sure. And welcome back!

  2. My dear wonderful, brave, strong, capable friend, I could not be more proud of you. You and Tara have defied everything I would ever imagine to be possible by completing this challenging race as your first freaking marathon. You both honestly amaze me with your determination, and ability to dream big, not letting setbacks get in the way of doing what you set out to do. I am so lucky to have you in my life to inspire and push me to take these risks myself. I couldn't be more honored to be someone's friend than YOU!

    1. Thank you so much, Ari! Your support had been so awesome and so appreciated! Want to join me and a few other bloggers for Goofy 2015? C'mon, you know you want to!! :D

  3. "Running a race with someone you've never met is always a gamble, especially 26.2 miles" LOVE IT!! SO TRUE, but we were awesome!!

    See? I told you! You got your Goofy and I didn't have to kick anyone's butt :) and I would have. For putting up with me for 26.2 miles- that alone should get you an award!!

    1. We were totally awesome! It was really fun having you with us. :)

  4. LOVED your report! I can't tell you how helpful it was seeing you guys on the course three times. That third time in World Showcase, omg, just seeing the backs of you almost made me start crying. I wanted to just stop and hug everybody and cry right then!

    I feel a bit better seeing you say how everybody was slower. I was ridiculously slow due to stopping at every single photo stop before the Studios ... and thought that I wasn't running sooo horrible. So if even the pros are going slower, then I guess I won't beat myself up. But you know, I don't even know my finish time. I looked at it once, but I just don't even care. I just cared that I finished and had that Goofy medal! The experience means so much more than any time on a clock!

    So now .... lightspeed to Dumbo!

    I wonder what Disney will introduce next. Will we be giddy over something else after Dumbo? Because if not, that's OVER A YEAR to talk about the next time we all do Goofy!

    1. I might try to fit in Wine & Dine for 2014... Haven't done that one, yet. Then again, it's pretty close to Goofy 2015. Decisions, decisions! Plus, we have RnR NOLA!! I almost forgot about that!


Thanks for reading!