I finished the Goofy Challenge at Disney World a week and a half ago. That is the good news about the race - that I finished, not much else to say good about my race as it was a disaster for me. Not a crash & burn disaster, no, it was an injury disaster. One that makes this the worst marathon (by far) that I ever ran - I take that back - that I ever completed, I didn't run a lot of it. Here is the story:
The race started awfully early in the morning once again. This time I was able to get about 6 hours of sleep before I woke us a little before 3AM. And after another day of walking the parks, I needed some rest. I was a little more awake this time and did not fall asleep on the bus like I did the day before. I got to the starting area a little earlier and after dropping off my bad at the bag check area, I took my time getting to the start area. I had plenty of time to get to my corral and settle in.
The start was pretty cool the same as the day before. It is really dark out still so they start with a lot of fireworks and flame balls over the start line for each corral start. It is really a cool site to see! Instead of going directly to the Magic Kingdom as the Half Marathon does, this race begins with a loop around the Epcot parking lot on the highway, then through the front of Epcot and leaving to go right past the start line again at about mile 4. This race isn't as crowded as the half marathon which is better. Instead of 22,000+ finishers, the full marathon had only 13,467 finishers, still way too many if you ask me, but 9000 less is better.
I start pretty slow as I knew I spent it all the day before in the half. I was just going to run and have fun along the way. I expected a time somewhere near 4:30 and my pace for the first 5 miles was right there. Legs were tired but loosening up and ready to go. By mile 7, my right knee was starting to hurt some. I have had tendinitis in that knee for quite some time so i decided at mile 8 to take some Tylenol supplied by the medical tent and expecting it to go away a mile or so later.
By mile 10, the race enters the Magic Kingdom and we run the same route we did in the half marathon the day before. This time though, it is lighter out and we can see better. My knee still hurts so I decide to take some pictures with some characters in the park. I stopped by Rapunzel and Flynn Rider (aka Eugene Fitzherbert) and also by Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, and Louis (the alligator). Then out of the Magic Kingdom past the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resort before turning off toward the Animal Kingdom. By the half marathon mark on the course, I knew it was going to be a very long day as the Tylenol was doing absolutely nothing to help my knee. It wasn't the tendinitis flaring up, I can run through that, it was something else this time and getting worse with each step. I went through the half around 2:23, much slower than i really wanted to.
In the Magic Kingdom, I stopped to see Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.
When I got to mile 14, I had to stop and walk. I decided to try to see if a half mile walk would maybe help the knee out. I tried running again only to find out a few hundered feet later that it was as painful as before, if not more. By this time, I knew I was in a ton of trouble for the race. It was sunny and warm out and walking was all I could do and DNF was not an option in my mind so walking was what I needed to do.
Near Mile 14 was Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbossa. Barbossa wanted to meet with me after the race for some Rum. At this point in time, I was all for that!
After walking through the Animal Kingdom and just past mile 18, I stopped at a Medical Tent and had them tape my knee up to see if maybe that would help. It actually did, at least for about a quarter mile. The problem was that the tape was way too tight on my tendons behind my knee so that didn't work. I resigned myself to the fact that if I was going to finish this thing, it would have to be with a ton more of walking, so walking I did.
I met these cemetery guys near mile 19. I felt like this so I thin the picture serves itself well.
Every once in awhile, I would try to run to see if by some miracle, my knee would let me. And each time I did, the same result, pain and deep pain. I felt odd while walking as I was beginning to be with more and more walkers as I stopped at a few more medical tents and more and more runners past me. The biggest issue with my mind was that I knew that I could probably run as fast as 9:00 pace if it weren't for my knee. After already walking 6 miles and 6 more to go, I felt great everywhere else.
At mile 23, the course enters Hollywood Studios and by this time of day, the park is already open so there are lots of people cheering us on. All I could do was walk. This continued part Hollywood Studios, through the Boardwalk/Yacht Club Resorts and into Epcot for the final mile of the race. Epcot was also open. People would say stuff like "You can do it" and "You are doing great". I appreciate all the cheering and I know a lot of the runners near me were doing really good, but I wasn't so it was kind of like a sting each time I heard it. I would just smile and maybe wave a bit and move along.
I made the decision somewhere along the way that I would do everything I could to "run" across the finish line so with 200 meters to go, I started running and was able to run/limp across the finish line and then lean against the fence and clutch my knee. I was able to get the the medical tent one more time and wrap my knee with ice.
Here I am running the last 200 meters of the race. You can see on my face how my knee really feels. I have horrible form and just want to stop.
I am so happy to finally be done. Now where is that ICE?
The funny thing is that as much as my knee hurt to run, it didn't hurt at all to walk. I did officially finish in a time of 5:44:35, only 13 seconds less that 4 hours more than my half marathon the day before. I did get my Mickey Medal and my Goofy Medal. In some aspects, I feel that I didn't deserve it as much as I thought I should and in other aspects, I felt I earned it more than before. I did finish 42.4 miles over the 3 days of races so that is cool.
I didn't feel like hanging around after the race. Besides not knowing anyone, I wasn't in much of a festive mood. So I ended up walking over to the entrance to Epcot with knee wrapped in ice and met my family inside who were already in line for pictures with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. I was in a better mood by this time and made sure I got my picture with Goofy still with my race number on.
This was my second Goofy Challenge that I completed and my third Disney Marathon. there are a lot of aspects to these races that are a lot of fun. The course entertainment is second to none of the previous 37 marathons I have completed. The Medals you receive are also second to none. the 3 I received for the Goof this year are even a ton better than the ones I received 5 years ago when i did my first Goof. But I will not be doing the Disney Marathon or Goofy Challenge again. Too many runners! Too early of a start time and even earlier wake up time to get there. Been there, Done that is my attitude for Disney now. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE DISNEY WORLD, I am a Disney freak for the parks and fun, i just don't want to do the marathons again. I would consider doing the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon or the Disneyland Half Marathon, but not this one (or the Princess Half Marathon either, see an earlier post for my reasons on that one).
About my knee 1 week and a half later. On Monday, I went on a run with Mike to see how it would feel. I made it 2 1/2 miles before the pain started to come back. I finished 3 miles and called it a day. Today I went to see my Doctor and have it check out. As I suspected (and most of you probably already suspected as well) it is my IT Band. Of course rest is the best thing I can do but I have a dilemma. The Icebreaker Marathon is this weekend and I have run everyone of them and REALLY want to run again. I have been given the OK to try to run if I want to and have started taking a lot of Ibuprofen at meals to try to get the inflammation down as much as possible in case I do decide to attempt the Icebreaker. My Doctor also said he would play the "Bad Guy" if I decided not to run and I could blame him. I have not made a decision yet and most likely won't until Saturday. I just plan on watching a few friends run the half marathons and the marathon relays on Saturday and see how I feel after that. The full marathon is Sunday morning and I know if I do run, I most likely can expect a lot of walking again, unless the Ibu does its job.
Either way, after the Icebreaker, I will be taking some time off of running which is going to totally SUCK!!! Perhaps this will be a good thing as I really haven't had a longer break from running in quite a few years. Maybe some recovery is needed in other parts of me and I can come back stronger. I will return to run again!
Keep on Running!!! (I will again soon!)