After months of training – long runs, hills, 800 repeats, strength training, yoga – it all came down to last weekend.
A Saturday half marathon – 13.1 miles, followed by a full marathon, 26.2 miles on Sunday.
I was excited and nervous all at the same time.
The Expo at Disney’s Wide World of Sports was fun. We found good things to buy, we heard from some renowned runners, and we got our race packets.
We hung out at the pool on Friday, ate a good pre-race dinner, laid out our clothes and other items we needed for day 1.
Bright and early Friday (2:30 a.m.) we got up, got dressed, and headed out for part 1.
The half was hot, but there was excitement. I hadn’t been to Disney World since high school. It was all new and exciting. Magic Kingdom. Seeing characters. Stopping for pictures. I felt good and the 13.1 miles went by quickly.
We recovered with yoga and some pool time, even a short nap before heading out for pre-race dinner #2 (the same food at the same restaurant as the previous night).
We got to bed earlier and slept pretty well. Morning came early (another 2:30 a.m. wake-up). We were more subdued on day 2. I think we were all tired and wondering how the race would go. The temperature was high. We trained in 20 degrees and we were looking at 80 degrees (or more) by the time we were finishing. But we had hydrated and fueled well.
The first part of the race was a re-run of the previous day. It went fairly quickly and without any problems. The further along the way we got, it got hotter and harder. I was struggling, on the verge of dehydration just over half-way. I had to re-think my hydration strategy so I could continue to run. By that point it was back to everything being new again. I hadn’t seen these areas before. Animal Kingdom. Universal Studios. I was still struggling. It was so hot. But I kept ticking off the miles. And then there it was. In the distance I could see the Epcot ball. I knew I was close. Then the 26 mile marker. I started to lose it, but reminded myself I had .2 miles left. As I crossed the line and then got both my marathon and goofy medal, with my friends standing nearby, I lost it. I cried with joy. I cried with relief. It was over. I had done it. I was officially “Goofy.” It was one of the best feelings of my life.
I set a goal, worked toward it, and accomplished it. It wasn’t easy. There were many struggles with health, exhaustion, minor injuries, and lack of motivation. There were good runs and bad ones. But I finished my training, and finished the races.
It took lots of hard work, encouragement from my running partners, support of my family, prayers offered by me, my family and friends, and the strength of God.
And now I have another sticker on the back of my van.