Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Walt Disney World Marathon …. Dopey day 4

I cannot believe it has been over 2 weeks since I completed the Dopey Challenge, it feels like a hundred years ago, and yesterday, all at the same time! Know what I mean?
I have been dreading this recap, the final race did not go at all how I had planned! I knew that I could do it, but I was definitely undertrained. I never did 4 runs in a row, the closest I came was the Runner's World Hat Trick, and that was three races in two days. My longest run was 17 miles, I think. I never hit 20, and that was definitely not smart!
But I digress!
The night before the race, I put the patches on my feet again. They were very sore on the bottoms from all the walking and running I had done over the last 4 days! Colleen is not a morning person on a good day, and now she was fighting what we thought might be bronchitis! OMG! I was fully dressed before she even managed to get out of bed. We still didn't have to wait long for the bus, and managed to get on one where we could sit.
I tried to eat, but I was nervous, and my own post-nasal drip was starting up, and the two combined made me nauseous. I actually thought I might get sick, which was not how I want to start the marathon!
We made our way to the Corrals again, and again we arrived just as the anthem was being played. This was probably a good thing, since the wait was pretty long anyway!
While we were waiting, I spied Captain Jack! He is my teenie's favorite, so I asked him for a picture. He obliged, all the while talking and acting like Captain Jack. I for real thought the guy was British. Once the photo was done and we started talking weather and such, he started using his actual voice, very American! He was a kick in the pants and a nice distraction!
Let's stop here and check out my outfit. This is the only day that Colleen and I did not match. I was supposed to be Princess Leia. I never got a belt, and I didn't want to wear the headband with the buns. I thought I would just braid my hair and tuck it under. Total fail. Epically. My hair is so thin, it looked pathetic, and I decided I was too tired to give a  hoot. SO I was random girl in white. Yay me.
Oh, and the garbage bags? We knew it was going to be cold, and Colleen, in a fit of brilliance, asked a Cast Member at the Hotel Gift Shop if she had any bags. She had 2, and Colleen cut neck holes in them. They look thin, but they kept us pretty warm and we kept them for the first several miles!
 That was the only picture we took for the first 23 miles. For real. It was a battle to stay alive, almost from the start, and we were totally, 100% afraid to stop for pictures. We could actually imagine telling the story about how we got this great shot of us with some character, and that was why we didn't finish the race. No chance! There are some perfectly adequate shots that the photographers took, but I haven't sold my arm and leg yet to buy them! Once I do, I will post them!
The first fews miles were not bad. We were running a mile, walking a minute, stopping to pee, for the first 5 miles. Hitting the Magic Kingdom was awesome as always, but we were afraid to stop for another Castle picture, so we kept going.
The crowds were amazing, and the Volunteers were spectacular. We stopped in the bathrooms just before the train and that is when I discovered the chafing. Down there. Oh yeah, I was feeling gooood. Thus began my frequent medical tent stops to take care of the situation. To everyone who ran by the tents as I pulled down my shorts to lube up, I apologize!
This definitely put a cramp in our times, as well. Because we weren't terrified enough. This was around the point when we started to fear the infamous Balloon Ladies.
Next stop: Speedway. I loathe the Speedway. I am not even sure why. I don't really love or hate cars, but there is something about it that just freaks me out. It is so open! I was seriously scoping the whole time for those BLs. Luckily, we left without ever seeing them. Whew!
After the Speedway is about 3 miles of nothingness. You run through the oh so lovely area of the WDW Sewage Plant. Last year the smell made me nauseous, but luckily it was a cool day and there was no awful smell. We also passed the Firefighters again, and there were ladies giving out candy at some point. That was nice.
This is where I started to lose faith. I actually texted the hubs. I meant to screen shoot the conversation, but I forgot to do so before I deleted it. I asked him how he would feel if I didn't finish. I totally checked out. My heel hurt and I was walking more than running. Colleen and I were keeping the same pace, mostly because she was slowing down and I could walk pretty fast. The hubs and I went back and forth for awhile, and he kept cheering me on and telling me I could do it. At the time, I wanted to hire a hit man and just kill the boy. I made sure to thank him afterwards, though. It was 100% what I needed. He also Facebooked and asked my friends to cheer me on. I kept getting messages telling me I was a rock star, which both humiliated me and motivated me.
I had to finish.
I was now stopping at every medical tent to lube up my poor chafed bikini line (sorry boys!) and gob on the BioFreeze.

That stuff truly saved my life! I was using a handful at every stop! We soon entered the Animal Kingdom. I LOVE this part of the race. As you enter, they have Cast Members out there with animals that you can actually pet! A pig was doing tricks, they had a sheep with a Mickey head on his back, a goat, I think even a snake. They were all cheering for us (the Cast Members, not the sheep) and it was so nice to see something other than back roads!
We entered the park and were looking for some of Colleen's friends. They were there with Swedish Fish for us, and we really needed them! We kept looking, and looking, and soon we were leaving the park! Oh no! They miscalculated our arrival and got there too late! No Swedish Fish for us! They said they would meet us later, and this is about when Colleen's phone died. We tried to text them my cell phone number, but it never went through!
We were afraid to ride Everest this time, so we left the park without riding it. Time for the stretch of boring road leading to my second least favorite part of the course: ESPN Game Zone. Parts of it are very pretty, don't get me wrong, it is that crazy stretch of nothingness that I don't like.
During that stretch, Colleen and I got separated for a couple miles. She stopped at the potties and I was afraid to stop moving, so she said she would catch up. I started talking to others, and was trying to figure out where the BLs were and when we were officially safe from being swept.
This might be a good time to actually talk about the dreaded Balloon Ladies. If you have never run a Disney race, you probably think I am nuts right now. The BLs are the official pacers. They are the last people to cross the starting line, and once they cross the Start, the official sweeper clock begins. They maintain a 16 minute mile average pace, and if they pass you, and you do not beat them to the next mile marker, your race is over. They put you on a bus and take you to the finish line. You will get your race medal, but no bonus medals. No Goofy. No Dopey.
They carry those balloons you see when you enter the Magic Kingdom, like the one above. They are perfectly nice devil ladies. Frenemies, if you will. But more on that later.
So we enter the ESPN Game Zone together, talking about the general consensus and the Sweep Free Zone. Everyone said you just had to make it to Hollywood Studios. We were at mile 17. We just had to get to mile 21. NO problem. We were told the BLs were miles behind us and we were totally safe. Just keep the pace and we would be fine.
Colleen stopped to go again, and I walked on. We caught sight of the BLs for the first time on the baseball diamond. They were approaching as we were leaving. They were a mile behind us. So much for being safe!
Around mile 19, I ran into Doctor Dribble. He was doing Goofy, and I started talking to him about how surprised I was that he was so far back. He thought that was funny, since he dribbles two basketballs the whole time he runs, it had really slowed him down. I was telling him that we were closing in on the Sweep Free Zone and suddenly we were besties. He was so happy, it gave him some pep in his step and he dribbled on ahead. Colleen saw him at a water stop, where he kept dribbling as the girl poured water in his mouth. Swoon.
Check out the link above, it has some great pics and an explanation of what he does. He is an amazing guy, easy on the eyes, and super nice to talk to! Some people complained that the dribbling was distracting. I kinda thought the abs were distracting. But in a good way. OK this is getting creepy, let's move on.
Not long after Dr D dribbled away, I heard them. The Balloon Ladies. Shouting that we had two minutes to make it to the next marker or we would be swept! Oh.my.heck. What just happened? How did I lose so much time? Colleen was ahead of me, and I was walking as fast as I could. I asked the BL when we were safe, and she said we had to get *out* of Hollywood Studios! OMG I thought I was so close to being safe, but I was NOT. I just had to catch up with Colleen and tell her. I ran up and clued her in, and one of the ladies on the bikes yelled at me that they could sweep us whenever they wanted. We were never safe.
Never safe? Looking back, I think she was trying to motivate us to keep going, but I tell ya, I wanted to lay down and cry right there. There was no way, however, that I was going to get swept at mile 21. No way.
Colleen went ahead at this point, and I pretty much never saw her again for the rest of the race. I caught a glimpse every now and then, but I told her to go ahead, because I knew she needed to keep running or she would lay down and cry. That could not happen!
I heard the BLs again at mile 22, and this time I only had one minute to get to mile 22. I ran ahead, and kept  running shuffling right into Hollywood Studios. The volunteers were amazing, handing us chocolate and then a bag of Monsters Inc gummies. I fished out all of the red ones, and then dumped the rest. I am weird like that.
Through the park we ran, a few of us had banded together, all with the need to pee but afraid to stop. I could picture it in my head, leaving the bathroom and being escorted right onto a bus. Oh, hell no. The park visitors here were all cheering us on, calling us by name, telling us how awesome we were. I teared up more than once! We circled Mickey's Sorcerer Hat, and left the park to more cheering spectators. They were all giving us candy and cheering like crazy.
I met up with some Jersey Girls and we were all cheering each other on, keeping each other motivated.
And then it happened. Just as we approached the lake outside of Hollywood Studios, the Balloon Ladies passed me. Oh, yes. They passed me. Shouting the most beautiful words for all to hear.
I am tearing up just typing the words. They told us that they might start running, but not to fear. We will not be swept. We will finish. They had to maintain a 16 minute mile, but we did not.

These ladies were amazingly supportive! Yes, their presence strikes fear into your heart, but they were encouraging, helpful, nice ladies! They passed us by, and I slowed down. I was safe. Who cares how fast I go now? Not me. I will enjoy the last 2 miles. As we walked past spectators, racers who had finished, and Cast Members, they were all so supportive, cheering us on, telling us we were safe, we WOULD finish. 
As we walked the Boardwalk, I saw Peggy Sue, from the PbRC, that I bet many of you have seen at numerous races. She rides a Jazzy and holds up a sign that says "Perfect Stranger, I am proud of you, too". She gave me some Starburst, and I continued on my way. At the entrance to EPCOT, Dopey was there for photo ops. I really struggled with my decision about stopping. I knew that if I waited on line, it would be harder to get moving again, so I passed him by.
I met up with a lovely husband and wife just as we entered EPCOT. He was walking, she was running. She would double back, encourage him, he would curse at her, and we were all laughing so hard! He started dreaming about nachos and beer, and trying to figure out how to get both without leaving the car on the way home.
One mile to go.
Along side us, a younger woman was walking and bawling. I hugged her and told her she was almost there. Her sister was somewhere behind, and she was afraid that her sister had been swept. She was afraid she wouldn't finish, she was embarrassed at how long it was taking. Everything I had been feeling, she said out loud. I pointed out that none of her friends were there, they were home. On the couch. She was a badass.  I started talking her through the Finish. 
Look! It is the Gospel Choir coming up, we have 2/10 of a mile to go. 
Look! After you go around this bend, you will be able to see the Finish.
Look! There it is! You did it! 
She hugged me and ran to the finish. I mostly walked.
There, just after I crossed the finish line, was Colleen. She stood there for 7 minutes, while the Volunteers kept prodding her to move on. She was afraid I had been swept, and with a dead phone, had no way of asking me if I was ok. We hugged so hard, and cried like babies. 
We did it.
4 days. 48.6 miles. She was sick, I was injured, but we did it. Holy heck! We hobbled over to collect our Mickey medals, and hobbled towards the gates to collect our Dopey and Goofy medals. I was so tired, and so sore, and my feet were hugely swollen. I asked a volunteer to loosen my laces for me, and felt so much better after she did!

We did it! We went to medical, and got some Tylenol and had some ice wrapped onto our feet. After a bit of resting and eating, we hobbled over to the massage tent to sign up for massages. Unfortunately, we took so long, that we could only get 10 minutes. Bummer! We each got a super nice girl, who stretched us out, and gave us a few extra minutes, basically until someone came over and told them to stop. What a difference it made. A volunteer even came and asked us if we had a checked bag, and delivered it to us. SO sweet, and so needed! I had flip flops in there, so I wouldn't have to put my shoes back on! A quick stop to the potties, and on to the bus to go back to the hotel.
We were exhausted. We showered, and poor sick Colleen went right to sleep. I went to get her some throat drops and some drinks, and called the hubs on the way. Remember, I had some sucking up to do! He totally understood though, and it was so nice to talk to him. I wish he had been there, but Colleen was definitely the next best thing! I went back to the hotel, ate a little, drank a little, and slept a lot.
We had early reservations for Teppan Edo, but I had the hubs call and push it back to 8:30 so we could sleep.
We crawled out of bed, and limped to EPCOT. We had a little spare time so we stopped to visit some old friends:

Like my socks? Colleen had sleeves on under her jeans. What a huge difference they made! Sweet relief! Dinner was amazing, and everyone at our table had run either the Half or the Full, but we were the only ones who ran them all. We practically nodded off during dinner, we were so tired!

The next morning we hit the Magic Kingdom (ok, we tapped it, we were too tired to hit anything) for some final photo ops! Colleen even had her medals from every Disney race she had done, and we took some photos of that as well. While this photo was being taken, a random lady came up and took our picture and some creepy dude with a Go Pro on a stick took video. It was kind of weird.
Then it was time for lunch. I had seen a photo of this waffle at the beginning of the weekend, and dreamed about it for days! I finally got mine, and it was divine! Nutella and strawberries are perfection on a waffle! They sell this at Sleepy Hollow, right near Main Street USA. I highly suggest everyone should have this while they are at MK.

On our way to see Mickey, we finally found Peter Pan! The line was too long, so I took a creeper shot. Sorry Peter!
One last parting photo, as we left the Magic behind, so we could board the Magical Express to go home!

This was painful to write! I have no desire to redeem myself at future Dopey Challenges, but I will definitely be doing the 10K and the Marathon in 2015! I am already planning the long weekend with some friends! I am so thrilled to be able to say that I did it, and I have worn one of my race shirts pretty much every day since we got back. I am proud of myself, no matter how ugly it got, for finishing such a monumental task! Three years ago at this time I wasn't even running yet, and I have come a long way!
I still have weight to lose, I still have to learn to put myself first every once in awhile, and I really need to start Cross Training on a  regular basis!
I did it.
I am Dopey!


  1. You inspire me!!!! As I head towards my first half at Disney...I dream nightmares of the balloon ladies! Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Thanks :) You are going to love running a Half at Disney! There is nothing like a RunDisney event!

  2. I can't even imagine doing it. Congrats

  3. YIKES! What a recap. I'm sorry you had so much trouble, but at the same time, I'm THRILLED for you! You did it. No matter what it took or how badly it hurt or what you had to go through, you didn't give up and you made it to that finish line! Congratulations! You should be so proud!

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I am definitely proud! We are both total rock stars!

  4. You my friend are so awesome!! I do think next year I will be in Disney but I do not think Dopey is the way to go for me....we will see. I have until April to decide right?

    1. Thanks Gigi! We are going to have a blast in 2015, whichever race(s) you decide to run!