I've got dibs on this Goofy one. He's got ears like mine.
You know that saying, "It seemed like a good idea at the time?" Well, that is what this year's Goofy was for me. When I was scheduling the Texas Marathon in as a PR effort race I figured I'd cross the bridge of running Goofy one week later when I got to it. Let me just say that bridge was long and high but I had such a blast crossing over.
In case you aren't familiar, the Goofy Challenge breaks down like this: Do the half marathon on Saturday and you get a Donald Duck medal. Complete the full on Sunday and you get a Mickey medal. If you do them both, you also get a Goofy medal.
Saturday, Walt Disney World Half Marathon
I taped my knee at Texas and since that went so well decided to do it again for Goofy. I can't say for sure if it helped (when I did test tapes pre-Texas my knee still bothered me, but during Texas no pain at all -- I think it was the taper that helped more than anything). K-Tape was at the expo so I got fun colors to wear during Goofy.
Half Marathon Start
I felt SO awesome the first mile of the race. I hadn't run since Texas and my legs felt so happy to get back to running again. Then at about mile 2 they remembered what we had done the week before and I guess they got a little grumpy. My legs were a little tired during the race and way more sore than normal for just an easy half afterwards.
While waiting in line to take a photo with Peter Pan, I grabbed this shot of runners heading towards the castle.
With the insanely early start times (5:35 am for the half), it is dark almost the entire race. I dislike this since it makes it hard to take fun photos with the castle. I have to say the half marathon is not the greatest race. The majority of it is run in the dark, on roads in between the parks. Disney does a decent job of bringing out some entertainment, but it is nothing like the full. I got photos at thirteen different character stops during the race.
Finish time: 2:21 (I had no idea until right now, but this was shockingly a course PR by almost 5 minutes)
Sunday, Marathon # 26, Walt Disney World Marathon:
I hadn't planned to do this pre-race, but somewhere around mile 1, I decided to think about each of the 26 marathons I had run to get where I was on this day. Whenever I didn't have anything else to think about, every mile I let my thoughts wander to its corresponding marathon. I thought about the glories, the struggles, the amazing traveling I've done; I thought about the special people who came to run with me or cheer me on; I thought about the 5 minute friends -- those random strangers I struck conversations up with pre-race or on the run; I thought about the beautiful courses, the tough courses; I marveled at what memories from each race stuck out in my mind.
Mile 1: Disney 2005 *default PR 5:16
Somewhere in the early mile there was a bunch of people cheering from atop an overpass playing "Who Let the Dogs Out." Six years ago during Disney 2005, they were at this same overpass playing this same song as I ran underneath.
I thought about how I had been doing the exact same thing at the exact same place 6 years ago. It was overwhelming.
Mile 2: New York City 2005 *PR 4:54
Mile 3: Safaricom 2006
Mile 4: Rome 2007
Mile 5: Disney 2008
Mile 6: Napa 2008 *PR 4:35
Mile 7: Big Sur 2009
Mile 8: San Francisco 2009 *PR 4:27
When the sun rose, I thought about the countless additional sunrises I have been and will be privy to in my lifetime because I run. One of the many things which makes me thankful I am a runner.
I shot this since they also had this saying up during Disney 2005 (and they haven't done it every year since).
Running up Main Street, USA
My most favorite mile in marathoning (perhaps tied with mile 12 of Big Sur). Ironically this corresponded to my least favorite marathon.
Waiting in line for Jessie & Woody
Mile 12: Austin 2010
One of the longer lines I endured for a photo-op with Donald and Goofy!
I thought they did a great job of mixing up playing Disney music and mainstream music on the course. Of course, I am a sucker for the Disney music. My favorite was when they played, "Following the Leader."
Mile 14: LA 2010
I thought it was strange they were passing out whole bananas vs. pieces or even halves. I normally don't eat this kind of stuff on course, but figured, "Why not?"
Notice the glove in the photo above? That was supposed to be my throwaway glove. On Saturday I wore a pair which I ditched at about mile four. On marathon day it was much cooler and I wore the gloves until about mile 18.5! It was awesome running weather and by far the best Disney weather yet.
Mile 15: Oakland 2010
One of the special treats, behold the Disney Sewage Treatment Plant!
Around maybe mile 14, things started to get a little hard pace-wise. I have to say that thinking about a particular marathon each mile made things a lot easier. When you're remembering everything you went through to get through 26.2 miles, getting through one mile seems almost easy.
Mile 16: Big Sur 2010
Mile 17: Wisconsin 2010
Mile 18: Bear Lake Idaho 2010
Not a great photo, but I seriously love Disney race volunteers. They get up at dark o'clock with us and are so enthusiastic.
Mile 19: Bear Lake Utah 2010
Mile 20: San Francisco 2010
The most interesting thing about my run this day was that my legs felt okay running, it was just that they could only move really slowly. I had endurance for days but no extra gears.
I've been slowly one-upping my Disney Marathon experience over the years. I'm here to tell you that racing a full marathon the week before Goofy is the thing that will break me. I know I had lots of stops factored into my pace, but it felt odd to be moving so slowly and to still be feeling okay running. Usually when things are in the 5+ hour range I'm doing lots of dejected walking.
Mile 21: Santa Rosa 2010 *PR 4:11
They always hand out chocolate right before Studios. Decided to munch on some this year. Sadly after I shot this photo, I dropped the second half of my chocolate bar :(
Mile 22: Akron 2010
Mile 23: Portland 2010
Mile 24: Humboldt 2010
I love hitting the water after Studios. Almost home.
Back in Epcot. Feels like days since we were running here in the pitch black in the morning.
The golf ball means you're almost there!
I got a high-five from Goofy and Donald before I crossed the finish in 5:16. That is the same finishing time I had in 2005 (back then I ran the entire way, though, with no photo stops). I had wanted to come in sub-5, and then I wanted to beat my 2005 time (my course PW). I missed beating the 2005 time by 33 seconds but in the end I think it is kind of cute to finish with about the same time as 2005. If I knew I was going to log a course PW, I would definitely have stopped to ride a ride in the Animal Kingdom, though!
I made 22 stops for photos along the marathon course. I also took two bathroom breaks which is pretty strange for me. It is rare enough to stop once let alone twice. I figure it was the slower pace and the every-mile-aid-stations that Disney has out. Luckily Disney has an insane number of portapotties along the way (not to mention REAL bathrooms you can use in the parks).
I just want to say that even with all the moaning and groaning we all do about the cost of Disney races, they put on a darn fine race. I am always blown away by them. In fact, if they would only offer gender-specific race shirts, I'd say they do the best job out of any race out there.
I love this race so much. The Disney stuff makes me so happy and the parks come at just the right intervals to give you a pick-me-up. Disney also does a great job of on-course entertainment (and I've already mentioned the numerous aid stations and portapotties).
The thing I love the most about this race is that I always walk away from the Disney Marathon recharged and infused with a love and appreciation for running. I feel like such a kid running this race and it never fails to put a smile on my face. It always reminds me that the reason running is still in my life is that it makes me happy. It isn't about the times you run, but the times you have while you're out there running. It gets me so pumped for whatever plans I have ahead for the year.
I am so glad I decided to run Disney as my 26th marathon and to bring things full circle for my 6 year marathoniversary. If you knew me when I was younger, you would never have thought I'd run one marathon, let alone 26 of them. I still can't believe I've fallen in love with running the way I have. And I really can't believe how your body will do such amazing things if you only bother to ask.