I’ll leave off where Part I left off. Megan and I met up in the lobby of the Hilton Bonnet Creek because she was driving us to Epcot. Walking to the start line, I was a little worried because my rotated ribs were REALLY bothering me. I didn’t tell her because I didn’t want to worry her. I had a massive headache the size of the death star.
Megan was in a corral in the front and I was in the middle. But being the amazing friend she is, she dropped back to stay with me because she knew I wasn’t well. She told me that we would run this race for fun and at my pace. Whenever I needed to stop, we would. I was refusing to let my chronic pain get to me. I was going to do this race, no matter what it took! Besides, if I had to walk, I can maintain a 12 minutes pace walking which is faster than the required runDisney 16 minutes pace(They are pretty strict with it.)
We took off running and man the congestion was pretty crazy. It could be that the course was different. And what we noticed that it was pretty much the last 6 miles of the marathon, but backwards. So we entered Epcot and the Imperial March played again just as we stepped foot and it was all incredible. My rotated ribs were angry but, the music, the course..Star Wars just silenced it.
As we made our way through Boardwalk into Hollywood Studios, my mind was BLOWN! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!!!!!! I immediately stopped and this is when Megan cracked me up and made it the most memorable race ever. THE CHARACTERS FROM STAR WARS WERE ALL OUT!!!!!! Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Stormtroppers, Darth Maul, Jawas Oh my gosh I could go on and on! Megan asked me if I wanted to stand in line for any of them I said of course! There wasn’t much of a line for them, but I HAD to get one with Boba Fett. He is my favorite bounty hunter, actually my favorite from the bad side 😉
While we took pictures, Megan, who isn’t as fluent as I am in Star Wars, she kept asking me who each character was and how to spell their names. Feel free to read her recap here, it’s pretty funny.
At least for the rest of the race she kept me laughing and distracted from what my body was bugging me with…
Since the 10K ended at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports, we needed to take a bus back to Epcot. But there are no words to describe the length of the line. Since only buses were allowed into WWOS, it was just a huge mess. I was feeling worse by the minute. I also had my friend Bill waiting for me to make sure I was OK and I met up with him towards the end. But I could no longer stand up. I had to sit on the grass and just kept feeling worse.
Once back at the hotel, I did an Epsom Salt bath, and went to sleep. I had Alpha KT Tape my rotated ribs and I had to cancel all the plans and the tweet up meet up that was planned. I did not move, I couldn’t. I just kept getting worse. I spent the day resting, because I had to wake up at 2 a.m. one last time to run the half marathon, the last race of the challenge. We ordered room service, I was able to eat some carbs, and we were off to bed.
Alpha, Janine and I woke up a few hours later to prep for the 13.1 miles. My headache had gotten better, but with each breathe I took my ribs hurt like you wouldn’t believe. I told Alpha I was not well. I told him it was NYC all over again(I rotated 3 ribs during the NYC marathon) I felt better knowing he was there. He knows how I work and what to do when I’m not well.
Again, the walk to the corral was killer for me, I was nervous about how I’d do but knew I was going to finish no matter what. I was ONE race away form completing the Dark Side Challenge, I was going to finish! Janine went back to her corral, and Alpha dropped back to the middle with me. We took off at a slow steady pace and made our way through. Megan was constantly checking up on and letting me know where she was. I just love her to death, she is a caring friend and I am lucky to have her. We would catch up to her, here and there and she could see that I was doing OK.
The first half of the course was similar to the 10K and I was expecting the Star Wars mind-blowing section in the front of Hollywood Studios but nothing. I was a little sad because, Alpha was also looking forward to it. But oh well, we kept running and made our way into the park. Making our way down, we could see Kylo Ren surrounded by stormtroopers.
From here we made our way to Sunset Blvd to exit the park. We went past Tower of Terror and upon passing the Fantastimc stage, there it was! <Cue the Star Wars theme song here> The characters were back but they had multiplied!!!!! Holy Star Wars!!!!! This was out of control!!! So many more characters and Alpha and I couldn’t believe it!!!! And at this point Janine had caught up to us at the right time. So we had the chance to take pictures together.
This was just the boost I needed. For those of you that know me, you all know how big of a Star Wars fan I am, so this just totally confirmed why I did the race. For experiences and moments like this. Now that Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewy were all together, we pressed on and kept going. We headed up and then down towards mile 5. Around the Animal Kingdom parking lot where the sun started to peak through but luckily the temps were perfection. We worked through the park and on the way out the 501st Legion was set up with their Star Wars characters which was pretty awesome. More stormtroopers which I love!
It was a good time, laughing, joking, running, pictures. We headed down the long stretch down towards the WWOS. Which some of you marathoners might consider the twilight zone. Because it’s the toughest part of the marathon, it seems like a labyrinth in there! But this time, it was the finish line!
Heading towards mile 11, I started to feel the 3 days of racing, my chronic pains, my rotated rib pain came back, my trap muscles were preventing a good arm swing…let’s just say that my Scoliosis is definitely starting to affect me a lot more these days. Alpha knew something was up because when racing, we do talk and laugh, and when I get very quiet, it means I am struggling. I was not talking at all and I had my music on. He knew, and he stopped me. He asked to massage me and he did. I ran up to a medical tent and applied Biofreeze and he kind of freaked out because if I apply it, then I am suffering. But we only had 2 miles left. I was going to finish. I kept at a slow sluggish pace. Janine was up ahead a little bit. She is new to my running style and what I need to do while I run so I didn’t stop her if she wanted to keep going. But she was always in eye sight ahead.
I knew the last 2 miles already because of the 10K course so I dug REAL deep and ran the last mile and a half to cross that finish line and I did. We did it. Janine completed her first half marathon and I completed the Dark Side Challenge and 5K!!! Mission accomplished! We were all winners!
Once I crossed the finish line, I headed straight to get iced. It hit me again, as it did for the 10K but I wasn’t even out of the finish line chute. I was on the floor as Alpha put ice all over me. I wasn’t feeling well for sure but I think it was more exhaustion at this point. I went to get my challenge medal, got my photo and went to meet up with out family friend and our little.
Since the lines for the buses back to Epcot were long, we decided to relax a bit and let them die down. We sat in the shade and then took some photos because there were lots of photo ops. At this point I was starting to feel better, knowing I had just completed the challenge was definitely helping me recover.
All in all, this was one of the best race series I have ever done with runDisney and looking forward to next year. I am grateful to have Megan in my life because she is selfless, caring and supports me unconditionally. She made the 10K a BLAST. Bill was there checking up on me to make sure I was OK and waited for me at each finish line. Janine rocked her race. Alpha is amazing as usual. I am one lucky lady to be married to my best friend, my hero, my everything.
I told you all I wasn’t going to be stopped and I wasn’t. My Scoliosis, the fibromyalgia, and my brain tumor were no match for the Dark Side. I was sent on a mission and the stormtroppers put me through 3 phases. I accepted and completed each one. My chronic pain tried to creep in but I just told it to sit down and shut up. My strength has a louder voice. I choose to be unstoppable and prove to myself that I STILL am stronger than my obstacles. And I did just that.
-the Scoliosis runner