2014 Walt Disney World Marathon – Part IV Inaugural Dopey Challenge
It was Day 4 of Walt Disney World Marathon weekend and getting up at 2:30am was the norm, but was not getting any easier. This marathon was going to be my 6th Walt Disney World Marathon, my 5th Goofy Challenge, my 1st Dopey Challenge and my 15th full marathon!
I was to meet the #irunDisney film crew at the Start Line at 4:15am. They were to follow my progress through 26.2 miles of the marathon for a profile for the www.irundisney.com website (soon to air). Frankie, my cameraman, would film me on Main Street U.S.A. and running into Epcot to the finish.
Today was I joined by my team, my girls, my friends – BRF Alison, Perfect Goofy Gail and Sweet Pammy. I had prepared them that it was going to be a long day – I was thinking at least 6 hours, but no longer than 6.5 hours.
Why the mental preparation for the long day? I had my last chemotherapy treatment on Thursday, January 2nd and the last 3 days of consecutive running the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon had taken their toll on my energy. I was sapped and it was going to take my all to concentrate and power through the marathon.
Our plan was to run intervals of 20/20 right from the start. We were not going to stop for characters and only planned one stop to ride Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. After I had my final pep-talk of the weekend from my coach, Jeff Galloway, I knew all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and move forward.
We had a slight problem at the start though – potty issues. We had been waiting to start our race since 4:15am and we needed to go! There are no porta-potties at the start and the plan was to run to the Ticket and Transportation Center to use the first flush toilets! After a quick potty break, we could now concentrate on the race at hand.
I ran until Mile 6, but from there, I was walking more than running. On we went only stopping for photos with people I had met through social media. Finally we made it to Animal Kingdom and got to experience the thrill of the race – riding Expedition Everest! The roller coaster track is only a mile and I kept my Garmin 910XT running to record our ride – it had to help my stats!
It was slow go the entire race and I kept telling my girls to go on and “save themselves,” but they were in it for the long-haul never once complaining that it was taking us FOREVER to get through all 26.2 miles. After we were finished, they actually told me that it was one of the “best experiences” and “fun-est marathon” ever. I think they are crazy and still don’t know what they are talking about because to me it was a depressing, hard, exhausting day that I just wanted to end.
To me, it was hell. To me, it was long and excruciating. I just wanted to run and I couldn’t. I couldn’t even run 20-seconds. I didn’t have the energy. And it was killing me and breaking my spirit. And my spirit didn’t lift until I ran into another breast cancer fighter around Mile 18. Please forgive me because I cannot remember her name. She was running Dopey too. She was powering through it, walking, but fighting the fight that we both had to do. It was hard day and together we bonded over what we had been through and what we had to do on this day. It was important to us. It was important to show our families that we were strong and we were going to fight. It was amazing to share some time with her. I am grateful because I was beginning to hit the wall and needed her positivity.
Jeff Galloway had told me that I would hit the wall at Mile 20 and hit the wall I did. Even though I was walking, I started in on myself with negativity and anxiety. When we made the turn at 20.50 I didn’t see any runners behind us except the sweepers and I lost it! I had never been swept from a Marathon and I was sure today was going to be the day. My girls had to talk me down off the ledge.
At Mile 22, I knew we were good. We were turning the corner into Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It wasn’t getting any easier and we were moving slowly. Frankie, our camera guy, came out on the course to find us at Mile 23. The #irunDisney people thought I had given up! No, I was going to finish. It wasn’t going to be pretty, but there was no freaking way I wasn’t going to finish the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. NO FREAKING WAY.
At Mile 25, the tears started. I knew the next mile of the course well. I also knew that it’s a long, long, way around World Showcase, made more difficult by the finishers. Who at this time were all showered and cleaned, sporting their finishers medals, and watching you as you passed, drinking their beer and eating their food – bastards.
Somehow we made it to the finish line – with Frankie filming us – and my girls right by my side. Rudy and Carissa called out to us and I shook Donald’s hand! WE HAD MADE IT! We were finishers of the Walt Disney World Marathon – it took us 7 hours and 24 minutes, but we finished upright and with smiles on our face!