Leading up to the weekend I was a little less than thrilled about the weather forecast and getting nervous about how the race would go and unsure of the travel arrangements and group I was meeting down there. Still not feeling 100% after the whole Plantar Fasciitis issue in the fall and struggling with my pace and just feeling off lately. I ran a short easy 6 miles the Saturday before Disney and after that I did nothing. Well, technically I was super busy and just didn't have time to run before I flew south. Sunday I cleaned my house and did laundry. Monday I had to do a last minute trip to Target to get travel sized stuff. Tuesday night I had dinner plans with some former colleagues. Wednesday I had to pack and Thursday I left for Florida.
Wednesday and Thursday the nerves and anxiety started. Happens before all my big races. Not sure if it's more travel anxiety or race related. Either way, it's sucks. I packed and unpacked and repacked my bag several times to make sure I had everything I needed. This was my 12th marathon, you'd think I would be pretty good at this by now, but I still freak out. I slept pretty good Wednesday night, only woke once in the middle of the night to the sound of my cat Slim purring like a diesel engine next to my head. Thursday morning I got up and ate breakfast, had some tea, watched the Today show and waited for Kim to pick me up and take me to the airport.
My flight was a little late, but it worked out great because the group I was meeting down there took a later flight and arrived early so I didn't end up hanging out in the airport too long. We got their luggage and the rental car and headed to the hotel. The first night we only had a one bedroom suite and 4 people so I volunteered for the floor since I was the last addition to the group and it was just temporary so I didn't really mind. The whole weekend was only costing me about $100 so I was not picky as long as I had people to hang with and reduced cost for the trip.
Friday morning I woke up EARLY. No one else was awake and I didn't want to wake them so I went out onto our balcony and read a book. Eventually, everyone was up and SLOWLY they got ready and we made our way to the expo. It was such an adjustment for me being in Disney with a different group than previous years. The usual crew had all bailed on me for various reasons before the race - injury, budget, family obligations, etc. So I had to scramble to find alternate people to hang with for the weekend. I met Andy while training with Dana Farber for the Boston Marathon, he was going with his girlfriend Kit and her friend Denise. First big difference with this group was, unlike Jason the Disney pro, they didn't know where anything was and it took what felt like forever to get going and get to a destination because there was a lot of discussion and then programming a GPS and waiting for it to find a route and then time for the driver to familiarize themselves with the roads.
We made it to the expo. This being my 4th time running in Disney World, I knew the drill, I knew where to go and what we needed. Waiver, ID, etc. The rest of the group stumbled around a little new to the experience, not nearly as smooth, a few minor issues with packet pick up and then we made it to the giant health and fitness expo. Everyone had phones and each other's numbers, but at first they tried to stay together. 4 people in a runner's paradise, shiny new products everywhere, different interests at every turn, thousands of other runners and their friends and family members, it is nearly impossible to stick together. So, I broke off from the group and said we could find each other later.
After a few hours, I had enough and I found Denise. Andy and Kit were still looking around. Denise and I went outside and got cupcakes from a food truck - YUM! We all gathered and decided it was time to get some lunch. I suggested Downtown Disney because there are multiple options and lots to look at. We walked around making our way to the sandwich shop, then after we ate we shopped a little before going back towards the hotel with a pit stop at the grocery store for dinner supplies. That was an adventure in itself. Newbies Andy and Kit were thinking grand elaborate meals with multiple ingredients and complicated cooking. With Denise's assistance, I steered them to a simpler suggestion - Pasta, salad, and garlic bread. When you are only staying for a short time you don't want to buy things you will have to throw out. So, sauce in a jar and a box of pasta is the way to go.
On our way back to the hotel we got new room keys and an additional room. Looking forward to sleeping in an actual bed we opened the door to the adjoining room and found one king sized bed NOT two standard beds. :( So, I took the sleeper sofa. We prepared dinner, ate, and went to bed early since we had to be up at 3am to get ready for the half marathon. At 2:45am the phone on the side table right next to my head started ringing! Kit had arranged for a wake up call and forgot to tell me! Awesome way to start the morning. Anyway, I was up.
For the half marathon, like the years before, I dressed in a costume. This year's costume - Cinderella. I had tried it on before leaving and I was a little worried about chaffing, but Denise thought of the perfect solution for me. I folded the top half of the costume down and basically just had the Cinderella gown and a light blue running top. It worked out great. (Thanks Denise!)
My approach for the Goofy is to run the half really easy and have fun, stopping at every character for a photo. I got a ton of great photos. The costume worked out great. It took me 3 hours and 30 minutes to cross the finish line, but I felt fine and I had so much fun. Just goes to show, Disney really is the Happiest place on earth. Here are just a few of the pictures:
I had a great time. After the race Denise and I waited in the finish area for Andy and Kit to finish and then we all went back to the hotel for ice baths, showers and food. I took a short nap on the couch and in the late afternoon we started to plan dinner again. Same deal as the day before, newbies started suggesting elaborate complicated meals. I kept it simple, frozen thin crust pizza and some more salad. After dinner I pulled out my bed and turned on the TV to wind down. Andy and Kit hung out and started watching with me despite the fact that they had a TV in their room. I eventually had to kick them out so I could go to sleep. It was a little awkward, but comical at the same time. This time I unplugged the phone next to my head just in case Kit had arranged another rude awakening.
2:45am Sunday, the phone started ringing in the other room and it woke me up before my alarm went off. UGH! Oh well, just one more race to run and then I would be done. Got up and got ready. Forecast was hot and humid so I threw all time goals out the window and decided to just fuel and hydrate appropriately and do the best that I could. My goal was to finish standing and not vomiting. In 5 hours and 24 minutes I reached that goal. The course was a little different this year because it was the 20th anniversary of the marathon. We got to run on a racetrack and through the ESPN Wild World of Sports complex. It was kind of cool. I celebrated with a $9 glass of champagne and my medals proudly displayed around my neck. :)
Marathon #12, Goofy #3 - DONE and DONE. Denise and I hung out again in the finish area for Andy and Kit to finish. They were walking because Andy had a bum knee. Denise and I met a bunch of other runners and chatted while we waited. I took a few more photos with characters. We got some food. And after being on the course for 7 hours Andy and Kit got to claim their Goofy medals too.
We headed back to the hotel and iced again, showered, snacked, and got dressed and headed out to Downtown Disney for dinner. We had reservations at the House of Blues. It was nice to walk around a little and stretch the legs and flush out the lactic acid. Oh and we replenished our electrolytes with some salt (on the edge of a giant margarita).
My flight out was early Monday morning, Kit was nice enough to get up and drive me to the airport. They were all staying additional days to enjoy the parks. My work was done and I was ready to go home. Got to the airport, got some coffee and breakfast. Got on my flight and I had the window seat. There was a guy in the aisle seat and the middle was empty. I foolishly hoped it would stay that way. Just as I started to nod off in my corner, I felt someone sit down beside me. I looked over and it was a giant sumo wrestler sized dude dripping sweat and stinky, and he sat down and kicked off his shoes! Just my luck. No sleep for me because I was gagging for the 2 and a half hour flight from the obnoxious odor.
Landed back in Boston and my friend Steve from DFMC picked me up. Finally back home. It's a little weird. I can't believe I just ran another marathon AND a half marathon the day before. It's surreal. Like someone else did it not me. I mean my legs definitely feel like I ran the marathon, but my brain has already forgot. I RAN 39.3 mile in two days! Crazy. I LOVE MY LIFE!