Since the Goofy Challenge was two races and lots of stuff happened, I am dividing my recap into parts. I don’t want to bore you all in one sitting 😉
It all started by going to the expo to pick up the race packets and the VERY popular race merchandise! Luckily I got everything I was looking for and managed to say hello to some friends. Then I went home packed my bags and made my way to check in at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. Even though I am a local, staying close by makes things so much easier. I love the Hilton Bonnet Creek because it has so much marathon weekend fun!
Did you know they will take care of transportation for you, AND be up at 2am waiting for you and cheering you on? This place is just amazing, they had warm oatmeal, bananas, powerbars, coffee, water, bagels, so much fuel to get you started. Not to mention the VERY loud, VERY enthusiastic group of cheerleaders!
Once I checked in, my BFF Janine, came to pick up my little man as she was going to take him to the theme parks and have some fun with him while Alpha and I ran the Goofy Challenge. Soon after my PT arrived, allllll the way from Colorado! He has been the most amazing professional I’ve ever dealt with. Since I connected with him, he has never turned me away, gotten overwhelmed, or gave up on me. I’ve never had a physical therapist like that before! He helped me all through training and promised to be there to prep me and make sure I am Goofy ready! Boy oh boy does he know his stuff!
The problem with me is that Scoliosis seems to intimidate people. Some don’t want to deal with me, others don’t know what to do with me. Joe, my PT does! He already knew my hot spots and got right to work. Almost immediately, I had relief with less muscle strain and tension. I can’t express how grateful I was to have him with us.
If you don’t know about my story, I am a Scoliosis runner. I’ve had 4 spinal fusions that left me with more problems than actually helping me. Doctors have ALL told me from the moment I was diagnosed that I would not run. With the first spinal fusion, I had to learn to walk again. It’s hard to explain but my body was in a different position and had to relearn everything. Many complications and multiple surgeries to repair the damage, just left me with chronic pains that I live with daily. I have seen Doctors from around the world, NO ONE has helped like my PT, Joe. He is amazing and never doubts that I can be “fixed” He knows what to do and will do whatever it takes to keep me doing what I love…RUNNING.
Once I was “fixed” Alpha and I headed down to the Harvest Bistro to eat a special runners carb meal they were offering for the racers. It was delicious penne pasta with spinach and tomato! So yummy!
I got everything ready and headed to bed. Upon waking up, we stretched, rolled, taped, and left to the Bonnet Creek send off party to board the bus to get on the bus. We knew that it was going to be a cold start, but I think we underestimated the weather. It quickly dipped with a windchill at around 39 degrees!
I had a sweater on that I was going to get rid off and Alpha had a mylar blanket. It still felt cold and every time the wind would blow, our corral would scream. LOL We were in the front of our corral, but we had to wait almost an hour to cross that half marathon start line.
Once we took off, I needed to warm up my toes and my fingers as they’ve been numb for hours at this point. I was planning on running the half at a VERY slow comfortable pace without burning myself out. My usual pace is about 11 but I ran the half from 12-14 pace. We also ran with our friend Bill. I want to say we helped each other out as we laughed, we joked, we took photos, anything to distract us from what was ahead.
I got rid of my sweater at about mile 2. and we starting approaching the most beautiful, and my favorite sight of all, Cinderella’s castle! I was keeping a very slow but steady pace. I had planned to walk some miles for the half but at the half way point I was still running. Making our way out of the Magic Kingdom, onto the streets getting ready to run into Epcot for the finish line.
I was still running through and kept it up until the finish. I wasn’t worried that I pushed it too much as I wasn’t feeling sore or tired. The whole 13.1 miles was a blast and had so much fun. I can comfortably say that its my favorite distance to run!
I wasn’t sure that Janine would be there(even though she insisted she would) to cheer me on because I felt bad having her, my son, and her sister Jenn wake up so early two days in a row, but in true best friends fashion she didn’t care! And there they were as we crossed the finish line! I was SO happy to see them there!
Once we got our first medal, we made out way to get my back iced as it did get a little sore mid run but Alpha took care of me with a massage while running. Iced hot spots we went to meet Janine and Jennifer and our little hero. They hugged us, congratulated us and as usual had many moments of laughs and memories.
After this crazy, normal moments we shared, Alpha and I went back to Bonnet Creek to rest and get prepared for the Marathon……
….stay tuned for the EPIC finale of my Goofy Challenge journey.