Saturday, January 14, 2017

When You DNF the Disney Marathon

No sense burying the lead, right?
All week I have been talking about stepping on a screw, and ripping a chunk out of my heel (almost 2 weeks later and it still hasn't healed completely, but it's getting there.) I have been talking about how I was optimistic about running the marathon and finishing well. I was pretty much lying to everyone, including myself.
Let's be real here, y'all. I have a hole in my heel the size of a dime and it freakin hurt.
On Tuesday, as I was driving to Disney  (it's on the right heel), it stung and it actually bled through the bandage again.
On Wednesday I walked on my right toes. All.Day.Long.

Which meant that on Thursday, I had some serious muscle pain in that leg. I also walked the 5k. It took over an hour but my foot no longer hurt so badly that I couldn't walk on it.
Friday I still had muscle pain but it wasn't bleeding anymore, which I was super happy about.
Saturday I felt great but at the end of the day it was sore.
Sunday I woke up and it was freezing. No more cute outfit, no more fun Bing Bong Mickey ears. I wore multiple layers, leggings, and a Kermit hat that I just had to have our first day in MK. It's fleece lined and I live in SC. I had no use for such a hat, but I'm obsessed with Kermit, sooooo....  It must have been fate.
We had ponchos, and mylar blankets but it was windy and, although it was about 40 degrees, the real feel was in the 20s. Ugh.
Colleen and I huddled with strangers to keep warm. It was not pretty. Add this to the fact that I knew I wasn't going to be able to finish, and I was a hot....cold....mess.
They started releasing corrals and it didn't take us long to realize that they were doing it every 2 minutes instead of every 5 minutes. Yikes, my paltry 5 to 8 minute lead is now more like 3 to 4.
Soon we were on our way and I started setting small goals in my head. Goal 1, and my only real goal, to be honest, was to make it to the castle. That's about 6 miles. We were doing a 3:1 run walk and our average pace was around 15 minutes per mile. Every mile we added a little cushion to those balloon ladies.
The balloon ladies sweep you if you can't maintain a 16 minute pace, but if you have a head start, you can actually run a little slower and still stay ahead.
Soon the entrance to MK was in sight and I was still feeling really good. Hooray! We ran into Robert briefly and took some selfies before he went back to his Mom. They were doing back to back races and she wasn't feeling great. She'd been sick prior to the race and wasn't at her best.
Not long after, the castle was in sight! Holy heck, I made it. We ran through the castle, and over to the photographers for our jump in front of the castle.
Big mistake.
On our second attempt, I felt the cut on my heel crack a little and it started to sting. I knew that this was the beginning of the end.
We moved on and I set my next goal: Animal Kingdom. My reach goal was the Grave Diggers at mile 15.
I was still maintaining 15ish minute miles until around mile 9 or 10 and that is when I slowed down significantly. I sent Colleen ahead and saw her once more at the mile 11 turnaround. I never saw Robert again, although he passed me.
This was also around the time I first saw the balloon ladies. They were about a half mile behind me, and they shouldn't have been. I should still have had quite a lead and I was frustrated. I knew that I had slowed down, but seeing them so soon was overwhelming.
I still had AK in my sights, and I was determined to make it halfway before they passed me.
I started talking with some of the people around me. Many were half marathoners that were making up their miles from the canceled race on Saturday. They were going to stop at the halfway mark. Another was a man who was doing his best to walk with plantar fasciaitis. He trained for the marathon but knew he was stopping halfway. I told him that he was a badass, which surprised him. He felt horrible and it cheered him up to hear my thoughts and he stopped me a short time later to thank me.
Soon we were crossing the 13 mile mat and I stopped for a selfie with the Tree of Life. I was now hoping for the Grave Diggers. Two more miles.
I started chatting again with my fellow trudgers, and was saying that I wasn't stopping until the balloon ladies made me. And then this happened....

I swear, my words were still hanging over my head in a little thought balloon when she popped up. She was super sweet and said she was just a visual aid. I wasn't sure what that meant, but by Mile 14 they were both ahead of me. Sigh. I had no idea how far they would let me go, but I had a feeling there would be no Grave Diggers in my future.
I was swept at mile 14.8 and it was so maddening to be that close. After making sure that I absolutely had to stop, I got on the Parade Bus and was brought to the finisher area. We were not allowed to cross the finish line, nor were we given finisher photo ops. There has been a lot of nasty talk about this, so I wanted to clarify. Yes, we were given medals, mylar blankets, food, and drinks. No, we were not allowed to cross the finish line. As it should be.
I made sure that I walked 26.2 miles total throughout the day to earn the right to wear mine. I'm not gonna lie though, I felt pretty badass for finishing almost 15 miles. With a hole in my foot. Many wouldn't have even started. If Disney didn't have a time limit, I would have finished on my own. I could walk, I just couldn't run. I'm totally ok with this, although the Grave Diggers thing really burns my butt. I really wanted that photo!
A little tidbit though: according to my watch I maintained an average pace of 16:04 so I'm not sure how I got passed so soon. I should have made it past mile 15 before even seeing the balloon ladies, but let's be real here. I was never going to make it to 26.2 and it was pretty stupid to even try.

I have already registered for the 2018 marathon.... Goofy style... and I will be sure to avoid all screws until after the race. Such a stupid injury at such an important time!

Have you ever started a race, knowing that you wouldn't finish?

.... I am posting this without pics for now. I have had a hard time posting this, so I'm trying something new! I will add pics soon!


  1. Wow, can't believe you stepped on a screw! That's horrible!! Next year will be your year! I'm planning on running it, too!

  2. I'm super excited about next year, I've been plaNing to go Goofy ever since I went Dopey ;)

  3. Wow!! Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery from here on out :)