Let’s start with the marathon.
Usually with running, it’s a kingdom of isolation and I am the queen. Yes I’m alone but I’m alone and free-I’m too slow to run with anyone, so I don’t let them in, don’t let them see… Conceal don’t feel, don’t let them know. WELL NOW THEY KNOW!
I’m sorry, that was all from Frozen but IT’S JUST SO RELEVANT TO EVERYTHING.
Basically, I was terrified because I met someone in my corral who who wanted to run with someone. She was hoping to go just under 5 hours, and I thought that was pretty manageable given how I was feeling at the start and how I’d been running over the weekend but at the same time I had a deep seated fear that my gloves would be removed to reveal the icy, frozen hands beneath that had almost killed my sister years ago when all we wanted to do was build a snowman.
I’ll try to stop, I promise, but Frozen really was just that relevant.
Anyway. You know it’s going to work out when the conversation starts with “I don’t mean to be all creepy stalker” and then transitions to Criminal Minds and singing “Let It Go” with the accompanying hand gestures (because that person had seen it TWICE). The weather was cooperating also, which was kind of a miracle given how unpredictable it was being over the last week. Low humidity, temps starting in the 50s and a great breeze throughout. I couldn’t have begged God for better weather or company.
Except by the time we hit the Transportation and Ticket Center I noticed my left knee was bothering me. My left knee never bothered me, it was always my right knee that bothered me. We walked through the water stops and I started to notice that starting back up again was getting harder. After the photo with Pluto, Dug, and Bolt, I was having a tough time. At Jimminy Cricket just before Animal Kingdom it was getting rough.
By the time I had to run after the water stop behind Expedition Everest I was getting ready to cry. She had an early check out to make, so when she tried to gently broach the subject of leaving me behind I told her to run free and I think more or less kept the tears to myself because she was indeed super fun and the first 13 miles had flown by, even with my slight hobble.
Alone, I figured I was past halfway so this was the easy part. Only after the next water stop, I couldn’t start running again. I pulled over and figured I would try stretching my leg out a little bit, maybe that would help. This was around mile 14/15, and I had originally started the race with grandiose plans of a negative split and at the time I was feeling it. Now I was on the side of Osceola Parkway trying to figure out if I was going to finish at all. Mark this as the first time I started crying.
The best I could manage was a hobble. So I started to kinda hobble/jog/limp. As one woman passed me, she said, “Don’t run–just power walk for a few minutes and then start back up, it’ll make it easier!” I don’t know who she was, I don’t know if I verbally thanked her or gave her a grimace of pain, but I took her advice because what the fuck else was I going to do?
And it worked. Once I got moving, I very slowly jogged (on the side of the road out of the way of all the fast people before anyone starts stoning me) and vowed that no matter what, I could not stop and walk again because it was very doubtful I would start moving again. So I kept moving and didn’t stop to walk at water stations–hence my inhalation of much water.
But there was one thing I needed to stop for, which I am calling the Nardi Challenge in honor of Danielle, who inspired me to do it in the first place. Let’s say I have limited upper body strength to begin with and at mile 21 I really don’t have any upper body strength. I managed 3 things that vaguely resembled push ups and a lot of foul language.
Oddly enough, once I got myself moving again, I was passing a lot of people and heading into Hollywood Studios. I think perhaps the weather helped–unlike last year, the miles between WWoS and Hollywood Studios didn’t feel as much like a death march. AND MY ARRIVAL WAS TIMED PERFECTLY TO HEAR LET IT GO.
So anyway. I’d say the highlight of my marathon was Hollywood Studios, where I just started yelling, “I’m almost done!” One woman with a Dopey bib was just repeating, “I really want off this ride now!” so I just started talking to her and saying, “You’re almost done! You’re almost there!” It was borderline super annoying/motivational, but she took it as motivational and decided to keep up with me because she “liked my attitude.” (<–Literally the first time anyone has ever said that to me.) As we passed that ABC Commissary, I sang the Laverne and Shirley theme song to her as it played, and then ran down Hollywood Boulevard yelling at a woman with a sign, “YES! YES! I DO WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN!”
I saw my sister outside the Boardwalk, and as has become family tradition, she wanted me to stop and I was all, “I’m almost done with a marathon, I’m not stopping now!” But then just outside the international gateway into Epcot I saw him… That damn dwarf. And he had no line because everyone else was “Fuck that shit, I’m finishing the marathon!” The people before me were hugging and kissing Dopey, so naturally my first instinct was to punch him. Right in the face. And I did. The CM who had my phone, though, messed up and gave Dopey enough time to react at which point the dwarf tried to turn it into a fist bump as opposed to an assault.
Afterwards, I couldn’t get myself to run. The med tent guys cheered me on, and the ladies at this water stop were amazing, so I hobbled a little and tried to get myself going for a good ending.
Around the end of Epcot, just before you turn the corner and see the finish line, I was indeed ready to cry again. I don’t know if it was just due to exhaustion or what, but I was ready to finish. I felt incredibly disappointed in my time and like a total failure. Oh, yeah, and I couldn’t bend my left knee. (FYI: the KT taped knee held up beautifully!) So there was a lot going on at the finish line, and for some reason Disney hands out the same food to the people who finish the 5k as they do to those finishing the marathon, so go figure. I actually took the fruit chews offered behind Hollywood Studios and kept them in a skirt pocket and ate those first. Love those fruit chews.
Overall, I took Swedish fish with me and offered a couple to people in my corral but ended up not really eating more than 4 while I was out running, so again I marathoned without much in the way of fuel aside from some water. I missed my sister heading back to the room and when I got there I realized I didn’t have a key and couldn’t quite make it back to the lobby so I just sort of collapsed outside the door. That was apparently what I looked like when she found me. A few people passed me in the hallway and looked at me like I was nuts, which I kinda am.