Monday, February 18, 2013

Goin' Goofy: The Day After

It’s Marathon Monday, and everywhere you looked were the signs of what had been done the day before. Runner were waddling, groaning at the bus stairs, and sporting Bling each and every variety from the proceeding weekend.  One thing about runners, we do like to celebrate ourselves! Congratulations were given freely and sincerely to and from each weekend warrior to the other.  I will be honest, I loved it. I loved every minute of it. I was puffed up with self congratulations because of that Goofy head hanging around my neck, and I will not for one second feel badly about it.  This was my moment and damn it, I had earned it!

Laurie and I decided to spend our victory day in Epcot. We both love Epcot. It is my favorite of the parks in WDW. I love going around World Showcase. I always get a Fiesta Margarita in Mexico, and it seemed more than appropriate given the situation!  The self made videos in Spaceship Earth never cease to make me laugh. I think MouseWorks is an awesome souvenir store. Anyway, I was more than happy to spend our last day at Epcot.  First thing was first and that was Spaceship Earth, or as I referred to it in the previous blog ‘the Ball.’  We had our picture taken together on the backside of the Ball in our Goofy Shirts and medals. It seemed only right since, like I said, every race we did that weekend began and ended in Epcot. That fact means even more to me since Epcot IS my favorite park, and now its sentimental meaning for me had grown exponentially over the course of the last 3 days.  It is now the site of the completion of a dream.  A wild idea that had come true.

Laurie went over to Test Track to checkout the changes they had made. I found a bench and stretched out my sore shins.  She wasn’t impressed with the changes they had made. I don’t do Test Track. I have once, but it made me sick, so I avoid it now. I just watched people, and waited. Stretching felt good. When Laurie was done we went over to World Showcase.

We started in Canada so Laurie could get a beer and I got Matthew a hockey tee shirt and we posed in the photo op cut out. I just did it to be silly. Little did I know, it would lead to a “thing” and suddenly ‘Goofy Around the World’ was born. We stopped in each pavilion and took photo with our Goofy medal. It was some of the most fun I had all weekend. We window shopped, took pictures, watched a couple performances and I even got some Christmas shopping done! 

We sat on a bench in the shade in Mexico and sipped our margaritas and people watched.  We still had to pack and it was getting late in the afternoon so we went back to eat at Sunshine Seasons at the Land. They have the BEST pork chop there. The Rotisserie chicken is wonderful. The bakery has the best yummies.  They have a Raspberry Dark Chocolate Cupcake that I wanted to celebrate with, unfortunately, they didn’t have any that day so I settled for my delicious pork chop with homemade BBQ, cheddar mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. Yummy! The food at Sunshine Seasons is made with ingredients from The Land's Greenhouses so everything is super fresh. Aft we finished out meal, it was getting late so we decided we should head back to the resort and start packing. On our way out to the bus who should we happen to see posing for pictures? GOOFY! We HAD to stop and get a picture with Goofy!

The problem with buying stuff is that now I had to find a way to get it all in my suitcase!! We got everything packed a ready to go in the morning, decided to go have our last hoorah at Ragland Road. We ate some more, drank some more and celebrated. They were having live music and Irish dancing so we just kicked back and enjoyed ourselves.  It was just a perfect way to tie up our trip and our journey around the world. 
We had a later flight out on Tuesday so we didn't have to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn. We had breakfast at the resort after we got our bags checked in.  Its always pretty depressing waiting for (what we in the Rose Family call) the Sad Bus. We never want to go back to reality, but it seemed especially hard this time. We had such and amazing, epic week and I honestly didn't want it to be over. I still don't and it is a month later!!  So many thing inside myself changed that weekend. I guess in that way, Goofy weekend will never end. Through this process I have learned so much about myself, but those tings will wait for another day.
Until Next Time, Run On & Be Happy!!
Beginning of Goofy Around the World: Canada
MorrocoMorroco again because I love this fountain thing
Goofy with the Japanese Drummers
Mexico and my Fiesta Maragrita
Cappuccino Cupcake 
So symbolic of our weekend
Wrapping up our trip around the world in Ireland
 On the bus back to the resort
 Nerd Mickey and my carry on are ready to head to the airport. I am NOT.
Sad Bus
 My airplane snacks Laurie's airplane snacks

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Goin' Goofy: Walt Disney World Marathon

So here we have arrived at the Big Show.

I PROBABLY shouldn’t have waited until a month later to write this blog, because now I am afraid that I will forget details, but honestly, if I close my eyes (and had a spare 9 hours), I could relive the whole thing again.  I believe that it will be one of those experiences that burns itself into your memory to hold on until the end. That is what this Marathon experience did for me.

Ok, we left off after a rough Half Marathon. My confidence was shaky to start with, so a tough Half did NOT help at all since that is like “my” distance. After the pool though, I didn’t feel as sore as I thought I would.  I was more stiff I think from all the walking than I was sore from the 16.2 miles I had completed thus far.  We headed to bed early. I set TWO alarms because I was SO afraid of over sleeping. I had had a dream the night of the Half that I was so busy trying to make a grilled ham and cheese sandwich in a toaster that I ended up missing out on the entire race because while I was making the sandwich in the toaster, which was a disaster in and of itself, there came crawling a bug out of the wall that was a hybrid of a spider and a boxelder bug…. (Another thing burned into my memory.) ANYWAY, I had set two alarms to prevent missing the race. It didn’t work.

Sunday morning came and as I slumbered, Laurie woke up to go to the restroom and I hear “Emily! Its 3 AM!!!!!!” “Holy Shit!!!!” All I have to say is I am SO glad that I always prepare everything the night before, and that I sleep in my race clothes. Laurie was in changing, I threw my hair up, put in my contacts, tossed my bagel and banana and a jacket (mainly just to hold my phone in the pocket instead of having my phone loose in my gear check bag. This decision will come into play later on in my story). It was quite a way to get our adrenaline pumping!!  We made it from bed to bus in about 16 minutes, and that included a stop at the pop machine to get water and Powerade in our bottles! “So what happened to your two alarms?” you ask me. Well, let me tell you. The first one I turned off in a sleepy haze. I kinda remember doing it.  For the second alarm, I used one that was already set on my phone and simply changed the time. I did NOT account for the fact that it was Sunday and Sundays are my rest days (unless I have a long run) so it isn’t set to go off on Sundays.  Good thing Laurie has to get up and go 6 times in the night, but I promised since her bladder saved us, I can’t mock her about it for 3 months.  Looking back now, and seeing what a disaster that could have been, perhaps 3 months isn’t long enough, but I digress.

I think I held my breath that whole time. Once we were on the bus and on our way, I think that I was able to breath a sigh of relief, but my adrenaline was spiked and I think I was just laughing. I am sure the other people on our bud thought we were crazy. Or just excited.  We made our way over to the staging area, and I literally choked down the bagel that I brought along. I knew that I would have to eat something or I would be starving before I even made it to the Start Line. I wasn’t nervous, I just didn’t want to eat. This time when they called runners to start to the corrals they went by sections of the alphabet instead of all en masse. We went earlier than the R-St section, but dropped off my gear check bag (with my phone) and headed to the Corrals. It was MUCH smoother this time, and we went straight through. I think we stopped at multiple PortaPotties along the way and we staked out on a road near a line of potties. I sat and relaxed. I closed everything off and prayed. I prayed for strength of mind and body to follow through with what I had begun. I prayed for God to give me strength in those weak times that I knew would come.  I don’t usually start my runs with a prayer, but after this experience, I think that I will. I felt calm. Laurie, on the other hand, was doing what she does before a big race, freak out.  LOL. It’s just what she does.  We sat and chatted with another family who also came down from the Midwest and commiserated on the ridiculous weather. After standing in line for what I believe was the fourth bathroom break, we made our way to good ol’ Corral G. As the official start was announced and the corrals started moving, we just kept commenting on how many people hopped the fence to use the bushes before taking off. In the case of one old(er) lady she didn’t even bother with the bushes. She was wearing shorts, and simply pulled her shorts aside and let it go. I didn’t really believe that was what had just happened until the ladies in front of me were vocalizing the thoughts in my head; namely that the image of that lady would be burned into their memory for the foreseeable future. All I could do was stand there, jaw dropped, and agree. 

By the time we were ready to be released, I was a ball of butterflies. All the preparation, all the training, it was all about to happen. I could still barely believe that the day had arrived. I pushed out all thoughts of my first marathon. This was a COMPLETELY different race, different circumstances, and a different day. This was a chance to have the run that I wanted so badly in Ohio and didn’t get.  When we got released, I could tell from the very start that it was going to be a VERY different group of people and it wasn’t going to be NEARLY as crowded and miserable as Saturday.  We knew we were going to stick to Jeff’s suggestion of 30:30 intervals and we were off and ready to go, but guess what, that’s right, I needed to have a pit stop! Even with FOUR stops before the start!!! So off to the bushes I went in about the same place we were the day before. In this place though, there was a lot of tangle underbrush and I lost my balance (for the SECOND time during this trip) and fell right into a thorn bush. In the dark, I am scrambling to get back up, do my business and get back to Laurie. By the time I made it back to the road, there was blood dripping down the back of my arm, and I was picking thorns out of my hands and shirt. Oh well, the show must go on right? I wiped my arm and we went on, but after a little while I noticed it was really quiet. My iPod had gotten tangled up in the thorn bush and I didn’t even realize it!!!  The problem is that I had borrowed my husband’s iPod because mine quit working. Now it was lying in a bush a couple miles back! I debated going back for it, and had we not been as far along the course as we were, I probably would have, but it was just too far to turn around and go back for it.  I felt so terrible for losing his iPod, but I knew Matthew and he would be more concerned about the fact that I had fallen down twice in a span of 4 days than he would be about his lost iPod. Even now, when I apologize to him, he says “Oh well, its in a better place than we are. At least its in WDW.”  It’s a good thing that it was a Disney race with LOTS a distractions and that Laurie is a stronger runner than I am because she let me use her iPod for the Marathon. It was actually kind of nice because it was a (mostly) new playlist.

As we made our way to Magic Kingdom I started having people stop my and ask if I knew my arm was bleeding. I guess I looked pretty rough since there was blood all over my shirt and dried on my arms. There wasn’t much more I could do since it was mostly all dry by that point. I got a wet wipe from the next medic tent, just so people would stop worrying.  We went in to the Magic Kingdom via the same route from the Half so we went up Main Street and back through the Castle. After Magic Kingdom we made our way to the Walt Disney World Speedway. When we looked at the map of the routes, honestly, Laurie and I weren’t too excited about the Speedway. I really just thought it was going to be boring, but in actuality, it ended up being my FAVORITE part of the whole Marathon!! Around the entire race track, local car club owners had bought out their cars and lined the sides of the track. It was so much fun to see all these AWESOME cars lined up just for us. It was like our own personal car show! I smiled and laughed and took TONS of pictures.

From the Speedway we made our way to Animal Kingdom.  It was a long, rather boring (and stinky) part of the course. By the time we finally made it to Animal Kingdom, I could tell the sun had taken a lot of the wind out of my sails so the shade of the park was a welcome change from the previous stretch.  It was fun to watch the runners who had decided to go through the single rider line on Everest.  They cam e off the ride and franticly tried to catch up with their group, or make up for time. At least they were having a good time! Meanwhile, Laurie and I are grabbing ice out of the drink buckets at the refreshment stands. I don’t know if they liked that very much, but oh the ice was so nice!! 

From Animal Kingdom we went over to the ESPN Sports Center and ran around the facilities there (the track and the baseball diamond). This was Mile 19 and I was starting to be in pain. You know that point where you just wonder why on Earth you do this. And even more than that is why on Earth do you do this multiple times?  Plus, the diamond was actually really difficult to run around because it was like little gravel, and it’s hard to run in especially when you are already tired. I Just wanted to get to the 20 mile mark and see what the big surprise was, after that, I would just take it one mile at a time. That was plan and it was what was going to get me through. Little did I know, something much bigger was about to happen that would keep me running to the end. 

The Mile 20 thing was kinda cool, but I guess I was expecting something more. I have high expectations when it comes to Disney telling me there would be a surprise waiting. The huge puppet things were pretty neat though. I tried to get a good picture of them, but most of them were blurry. By the time we reached the 20 mile mark, I was basically just walking and conserving myself against the heat. Laurie decided that she was going to run up ahead of me a mile or so to use a PortaPotty and we would just meet up there. So she ran ahead and that was going to be the last I saw her until Mile 26. I just took my time going forward, but I never saw Laurie. She wasn’t there waiting for me so I just figured I would keep going and she would catch up with me since I was going so slowly.  Still she didn’t show up, so I stood for awhile off to the side and waited, and still she didn’t show up. I was right outside Hollywood Studios, so I thought ok, maybe she IS in front of me and we had just missed each other. So I kept thinking that she would be up ahead waiting for me along the sidelines like I was for her. I think the adrenaline of losing her kicked in because I was back to do my intervals. I went through Studios with no sign of her. I don’t really remember much of running through Studios. I know the park was open by then, and there were lots of people there cheering for us. I know I ran up the Streets of America. I BARELY remember running past the hat. Still no Laurie. I decided that if I hadn’t caught up/met up with her by Mile 24 I was going to stop. Mile 24 came, but no Laurie. I was kind of starting to panic now.

After Studios we ran over to the Boardwalk, which houses the ESPN Club which I know Jim and Laurie like to go to so I thought maybe she would be waiting there. Still nothing. I think my pace started to pickup because I was worried. I kept telling mayself, "she'll be at the next Mile Marker. She will be waiting for me". And to answer your silent question, no, I didn't seriously consider that she was BEHIND me. There is no way she was behind me. I kept going throuhg the the Yacht and Beach Club. I hung out here for a tick to see if she was coming, but still no Laurie. My heart is RACING because, you'll remember, I left my phone in my jacket pocket at Gear Check. She had no way of getting a hold of me. And I know Laurie. I KNOW she is freaking out right now. Little did I know to what extent...

When I got back into Epcot, I wanted to stop, but I just thought I should keep going. I just thought that she would be waiting for me. Every race that weekend had started and ended with Epcot and this was the last one. This was the final time that I would run towards that Ball before I earned that Goofy medal. I had almost done it. This crazy, insane thing that I signed up for simply on blind belief that my will would see me to the Finish, was about to come to an end.  I few times during the past 25.5 miles, I had gotten pretty choked up and emotional. Reflecting on where I had come from, how far I had come, the magnitude of what I was doing threatened to break my fa├žade. If my hold on my emotions cracked than so would the rest of me. It was when I came up that path to the Ball again, for the last race finish that I let the tears fall.

I stopped and waited awhile, but she never came by so I just kept going. I KNEW in my heart that she would NEVER finish this race with out me. Never. I decided to go to Mile 26 and I just knew she would be there waiting for me. She would stop there because that is where the Gospel Choir is and I know how much she just loves that Gospel. She would be there waiting for me and we would finish what we started together. I rounded the corner, saw the choir, saw the Mile 26 board, but no Laurie.  I went around the corner and I waited. I waited for her to round that corner. I did wonder what people thought of me just standing there 100 yards from the Finish Line but there was no way I was going to finish without my partner by my side. I would have never been there if it weren’t for her.  
I stood there for what felt like an eternity. I had plenty of time to think about how the run had gone. I only really had a true struggle around the ESPN center; otherwise, the run had gone great. My feet hurt. I knew I would have a blister on the bottom of my foot, but overall, I felt great. Better than great. I had that feeling. Those of you who have finished a big race, a goal race, strong, you know that feeling.  All that was missing was my partner to finish it with.  FINALLY, I saw that Marathon Maniacs shirt round that corner and I just screamed! She burst into sobs, not tears, SOBS. She kept apologizing for losing me. I didn’t care about that, I just wanted to finish this Marathon strong, and the way we started this adventure, together.  After huge hugs of running partners reunited I do believe my exact words were “Come on, lets finish this bitch.”  So we did. I believe I was screaming like some primal beast but all the adrenaline from the run, the excitement of finishing a Marathon the way I had pictured it, and the relief of finally finding Laurie just all came together. Laurie’s came as sobs, mine came as yelling, and screaming, and possibly dancing down the shoot.  

I can’t really even describe my elation at that Finish Line, or getting that beautiful medal, or my hard fought Goofy medal.  Every training run, every step, every determined turn of my back against that voice that told me to quit: it all led up to that day, to that moment in time, and it was mine. It is mine.

After we got our refreshments and a bag of ice we stood in line for our bus back to the resort. Nothing could possibly bring me down in that moment. Though the heat, and my hurting feet were trying their hardest, BUT I was armed with a bag of ice and major case of a Runner’s High!! We got on the bus and boy you could tell it had been transporting sweaty runners all morning because by the time we got on, it was RIPE. We just felt so bad for the bus drivers! On the bus I checked my phone for the 4 missed calls and 3 frantic voice messages from Laurie. I got a call from Matthew because Laurie had called him, and she had left a post on Facebook in the off chance that I had posted something about my whereabouts there.

When we got back to the room (eventually. It was slow going), I took my shoes off and I had a tiny blister on the bottom of my foot where I knew there would be one. I could feel it rubbing, but there wasn’t much I could do, and it wasn’t really bothering me. I decided I would ignore it and live with the consequences once I was done. What I didn’t know was the MONSTER blister that was forming on the OTHER foot! It was a little longer than a pop bottle cap, and stuck out about a centimeter from my foot. I had no idea it was there! We got cleaned up and went down and got some food, and I THINK I napped. I don’t even really remember the afternoon.

 RunDisney was having a celebration party for the runners at Downtown Disney so we decided to sport our 4 medals and go down to the party. We sat and listened to some of the live music and had a couple of beers. Laurie was a social butterfly and joined in the dancing. I would have liked to and did where I was standing, but the blister on the bottom of my foot was painful and I could walk very well. On Sunday, that was what was slowing me down, the blisters. Monday would be a different story, but after the race, it was the blisters.  It was a lot of fun, and I am very glad we went down. We visited with a lot of people and shared war stories. We were bowed to when we told one group that we had done all three races.  We let our medals clink and clank as we walked and I felt ridiculous (plus I didn’t want to scratch them) so I held mine when I walked.  We listened to another band, had another drink, and decided to call it a night since neither one of us could stop yawning.

I am saving major insights for my Reflections blog that is still to come, but overall, I don’t think I could have been any happier with my experience with Goofy. After it was done, I knew I would definitely do the Marathon again. It was so awesome and I felt so good that I knew I would do that one again. Now a month later I can say with all honesty, yes, I would definitely do that Marathon again.  I went from thinking that Goofy would turn me off of Marathons all together, to fueling my desire to do another one! I think THAT is a successful running adventure.

Until Next Time: Run On and Be Happy!
 Out the Door!!

 Laurie Freaking Out

 Waiting for our turn to GO!

 Finally our turn for the Start Line

 Monorail on its way into Magic Kingdom

 And so are we!

 Headed on to Main Street

 Coming Around the backside of Cinderella's Castle

 Looks like Laurie's Mustang

 We were having a blast

 Arrived in Animal Kingdom

 Sweet Merciful Shade

 Yay! Darkwing Duck!
 ESPN Wide World of Sports

 This is where things are getting dicey for me

 You can see the gravel I was talking about here and how miserable I felt at this point
 Coming up on mile 20

 I have lost Laurie at this point, not to see her again until mile 26

 Coming up on Hollywood Studios

 Streets of America

 Yacht and Beach Club

 Back around Spaceship Earth

 Mile 26, still no Laruie

 Finally reunited and headed into the Shoot

 Laurie getting her Mickey Medal
 She was pretty emotional

 We're officially GOOFY!!!
 SO worth it.

 my prize blister

 Runner's celebration party in Downtown Disney

 Laurie dancing the night away