In case you missed the first half of my Goofy Challenge recap, you can find it here. After we ran the half marathon, we headed back to the resort to get prepared for the marathon. My PT, Joe came back to finish working on me and see how bad I was. I was actually feeling OK and not that sore or pained.
The only trouble I was having was, my upper right shoulder which Joe quickly fixed. We napped, ate, hydrated, hydrated and more hydration. I went back to the Harvest Bistro to have seconds of the delicious penne, tomato spinach plate I had! We headed to bed and woke up at 1:30 a.m. to get down to the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek send off party!
This time the cold wasn’t as bad. it was almost 20 degrees warmer at 52. I had the mylar blanket this time and Alpha’s costume had arm warmers. We took photos and headed to our corral to wait.
Once we crossed the start line, it was on! Last 26.2 miles left and I would officially become Goofy! I had no idea that once I crossed it, this would become the most unforgettable marathon yet.
The first 1/4 of it was fun! We ran through Magic Kingdom and the race track and saw so much! I was SOO happy to have my Vega Sports gel to keep me going. I love those things! Have you tried them?
Almost immediately my Scoliosis flared up and wanted to lock up on me. Luckily Joe showed me some quick stretches I could do to prevent so much tightness and I did those stretches through out the race. Alpha did massage me a few times, and thanks to Brenda she took a very moving photo of it happening. It’s one thing to hear about what I go through but it’s another to see it. I am happy she took this photo because it speaks more than my words could ever describe.
There it was, the 13.1 mark! Our friend Andres was working the split time and boy was I happy to see him! He gave me many hugs as I told him I needed them and we took off. I felt a little better but NOTHING could prepare me for what was ahead at mile 14….
There was another GREAT school band playing on my right side, when suddenly I hear a VERY familiar voice shout “Mami! Mami!” Without a doubt I knew that was my little man but I didn’t see him. The last my BFF and I talked, she would be with him and Jennifer waiting at the WWOS ESPN center. So I was a little surprise she was here.
Then I saw him! I ran across and ran towards him to hug him and squeeze him tight! He is my everything and seeing him at the moment was much-needed. Then as I look up, my ENTIRE clan was there to surprise me!!! I couldn’t believe it and was so overwhelmed with joy that I broke into tears! I had told them how meaningful it would be to have them all there but they all said they couldn’t make it.
It was a complete and total surprise for me and Alpha and I will NEVER forget the feeling I got when I saw them and how much support I really do have. They are an INCREDIBLE family to us and have been there for us since day one! I’m getting goosebumps just thinking of that moment when I saw them all standing there cheering for us.
I don’t know how my friends and family kept that a secret! That is a lot of people to keep quiet including my little man! I can’t even put into words how I felt knowing they were there. But I had to keep going as I had to finish this race. So we hugged, said our good byes and yelled “See you at the finish!”Just 12.2 miles to go! Shortly after that it started to rain, but a light drizzle. It was actually perfect and preferred this cloudy, rainy, marathon than hot and humid.
As we came to the ESPN center, or what I call, the twilight zone because it seems to never end, and it’s were you clearly see runners hit the infamous “wall”. I was tired but feeling OK. Seeing my people REALLY REALLY helped give me the boost I needed. They will NEVER know how important that was =)
I knew once we made it through the field, mile 20 was just around the bend. I used all these soft terrains to run and relieve tension. I made it out of the field and had to walk. Made my 100th stop for Biofreeze and then I hear a VERY loud group of cheers and had a feeling I knew who it was….my cheer squad was back!!! I didn’t expect to see them at mile 19 but there they were! Never failing me!
I said hello and good-bye as we made our way to the last 10K left of the race. I got the other boost I needed to continue through until the end. I ran happily and had MANY familiar faces cheering me on and recognizing me, so to all you followers..THANK YOU for stopping me and saying hello! I LOVE meeting you all and knowing I am running along side you!
I had run into Joanna(early on) from Races for Awareness who we’ve become close friends and helped each other out through training. It was truly an honor to run along side her for her first marathon! She did AMAZING!
Once I entered Epcot, my cheer squad knew it and flooded my phone with “You can do it” messages. I received a special one, which was of my sis wearing purple butterfly wings on her arm. Are you familiar with my purple butterfly wings on my Asics? They symbolize a VERY special angel in the sky who fought a hard battle until the end. I always ask her to watch over me and fly with me…now her mom, was giving me her wings. Bella my beautiful princess, thank you for being with me through the tough, good, bad, and empowering. You gave me the strength I needed and I KNOW you were with me at each mile. I had your wings your mom sent me and I flew for you.
I flew through Epcot and could hear the choir singing. Which if you’ve run a Disney marathon before, you knew what this meant….the finish line was just ahead! We came around the LAST corner into the finish line shoot and crossed that finish line PROUD! I did it! I was officially Goofy and had run 39.3 miles successfully!
Met up again with my people and after we talked and shared how this all came about, Alpha and I headed to the hotel to ice bath and Epsom Salt soak! Our friends Tina and Manny came back with us to spend more time before they headed back home.
And surprisingly enough, we went out to Epcot to meet up with the family! I have NEVER been able to do that! All the work Joe did on me and the stretches he taught me certainly made a HUGE difference!!!! I was able to walk pain-free! I have never been able to say that! Sometimes running 6 miles will cause incredible pain where I can stand up straight. But running 39.3 miles and able to go to a theme park and walk around is just mind-blowing to me. I have never felt so unstoppable, more in control of my body before. My PT is amazing and has fixed me when no one else has in the 15+ years I’ve dealt with them.
This Goofy Challenge was an over all unforgettable experience! From the freezing temps, to the comfortable beds, to my mile 14 surprise and my little man saying he was proud of me. I will do it all over again in a heart beat and not change anything.
I ran an EPIC race as my favorite Disney classic character and I indeed chase the white rabbit until the end.
There is no limit to what you can do. People will doubt you and try to break you. You need to believe you can and believe you are strong enough to overcome. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Some may not understand and never will, but you know why and keep chasing those dreams. NEVER GIVE UP.