What’s a girl to do when one Disney race just isn’t enough? The Goofy Challenge. This year, I decided to run the Goofy Challenge during the 2014 Disney Marathon Weekend. If you’ve been reading, I already recapped my fun at the expo and in the half marathon.
Sunday was marathon day and the day started very early, much to my dismay. When the alarm clock went off at 2:45am, it took all my energy to move. My legs felt fresh, but my head, throat, chest, and even my eyebrows hurt. The cold/flu that I had been fighting had won. I was sick. Sick sick. And I had 26.2 miles to go to get my Goofy medal. I dragged my sorry self out of bed, complained a lot, and got on with getting into my costume and getting to the starting line.
I warned my family it might not go well. I might DNF. Of course, they could barely hear me since I had completely lost my voice. I hauled my bedraggled self to the starting corrals. Honestly, the rest of the race is a bit of a blur, thanks to my feverish and sickly state. Here’s what I remember (some of which was triggered by a quick post-race review of the pictures I took).
Mile 3 – I couldn’t take my Goofy vest flopping in the wind. I left it along the way.
Mile 5ish – My parents were waiting for me at Cinderella’s Castle. I took a quick picture, assured them that I wasn’t dying, and told them I wanted to finish. I had tested a walking pace and I knew I could walk a 15-minute mile without feeling horrible. I would finish or I would be picked up by the golf cart. Either way, I wasn’t giving up.
Mile 6 – On the back side of the Castle, I took a great picture (my favorite from the whole weekend) right before things got bad.
Mile 8 – The wheels fall off. I’m mostly walking. I’m the crazy lady you see hunched over on the side of the road, resting. That banana was a really terrible idea. It will be a while before I can eat bananas again. It was the low point of the race.
Mile 10 – I had decided early on I wouldn’t go farther than 10 if I were going to DNF. I had a decision to make. I stopped on the side of the road near the waste water treatment plant. I thought about all the training. I thought about my poor, sore siblings and friend willing to take a bus to Wide World of Sports to cheer for me. I thought about how much my mom would worry and how hard she had worked to fight through cramps in her first half. I continued on. I texted my family to tell them I would finish. I was doing it.
Mile 11 – Apparently I took a picture with an owl. I don’t remember this. I’m surprised I didn’t trip over my own two feet. I hate running.
Mile 12 – Things start to look up. For no discernible reason, I start to feel better. And, then, the best thing ever happened. Expedition Everest was open. I could ride my most favorite ride.
Mile 13 – Buoyed by my ride on the best ride ever, I trotted along. The next several miles went by quickly and I found my self on Osceola Parkway, or, as I call it “The Highway to Hell”. I hate Osceola Parkway. It seems to go on forever. I can probably thank my sickness for this, but this year, I wasn’t bothered by it. I trotted along happily. No doubt I looked a little like Dory from Finding Nemo – randomly talking to myself and getting overly excited about the little things I passed (dude with a Stick! Joy! Random lady with animal crackers! Outstanding! A palm tree! etc.).
Mile A lot – My family! Yay! My brother and sister-in-law were waiting for me in Wide World of Sports with a sign. Joy! Then my other sister-in-law and my friend in Champion Stadium.
Mile 20 – Finally! I made it to 20. I knew I would finish. I can’t begin to describe how happy I was. I wasn’t as sick, was running well, and felt strong. I loved Disney, the marathon, my fellow runners, everything.
Before I knew it, I was entering Hollywood Studios, where one of my wonderful Twitter friends had made a sweet sign.
And then it was over. I floating along on a cloud of running love for the last three miles and it was over. I have the pictures. I ran through Epcot. I waved at cameras. I think I saw my dad. Maybe my poor addled brain had just given up. It’s all a vague blur of people and color and the lagoon at Epcot. When I crossed the finish line, I had one clear thought. I love Disney. And I can’t wait to do it again next year.