The Goofy Challenge Part II: The Mickey
You can read Part I here.
After we finished the 1/2 marathon, we headed back to the room. I took a short nap. We showered and cleaned up a bit. We then headed out to the Magic Kingdom for a somewhat slow day at the parks. We only rode a few of the major rides. This may have been the most I have ever ridden the railroad. I lasted until about four until I felt a bit dehydrated. I told The Blonde we needed to head back immediately.
Unfortunately, I was dehydrated. I spent the rest of the day trying to rehydrate. I was not too successful. I laid in bed at night trying to go to sleep. I was not successful because I couldn’t swallow very well. So, I was getting stressed out trying to sleep worried that I was getting sick and I had a marathon to run in a couple of hours. I finally got to sleep. However, I think I only ended up with about three hours of total sleep.
We had learned our lesson from the day before and got on the bus about half an hour earlier. That seemed to make a world of difference as we were only on the bus for about 20 minutes vs. an hour the day before. We got off of the bus and headed towards the bag check area. This morning we had time to actually tie our shoes.
I chose to go with my Saucony A5s for this race over my Saucony Kinvara 2s. The Kinvaras have more padding vs. the A5s which are racing flats. I did have some concerns about that given the distance, but the A5s just fit my feet so well that I was more worried about the fit vs. padding.
As we started to head to our tent to check our bag, we heard the announcer say that corrals A & B should start heading to the start. That was us! So we headed over. Or so we thought. We ended up in a mass of people as they had not opened the gate yet. We stood there for five minutes before they finally let us walk the 1/2 mile to the start. On the way to the start we stopped at our friendly neighborhood smelly blue box. And no, they were not TARDIS replications (though there is a business idea out there for some enterprising soul).
We decided to move ourselves back to the C corral on purpose this time. We were a bit concerned about the heat and did not want to push the pace. As we waited we stretched and The Blonde tied and retied her shoes several times. runDisney did a good job of keeping people entertained while waiting for the start to happen. We heard from Jeff Galloway (of course), Frank Shorter, & Bill Rodgers amongst others.
It was very interesting to hear all of these American running legends speak. One theme they all spoke about was slowing down and hydrating due to the heat that was going to be coming in a couple of hours. The other theme they all kind of touched on was the growth of the sport and how it is bigger then they ever thought it would be. Frank Shorter in particular spoke about being an anonymous athlete and never dreaming that a race like this would attract 25k runners. In addition, they all remarked about how there were more that 50% registrations for females. You could really hear the pride in their voices as they spoke of the humble beginnings of running and its growth.
Since we were able to get to the start on time this morning, we were able to participate in the all of the starting activities. We listened to the National Anthem. Apparently, I have been to too many Sporting KC games as I expected red fireworks when he hit “rockets’ red glare”. Shortly after the anthem was over, Mickey Mouse starting counting down to the start of the wheel chair division taking off. Fireworks went off and the wheelchairs were out. They repeated this sequence for each corral, which I think is a nice touch to ensure everyone feels included. I think that they were spaced about seven minutes apart, so we were a good twenty minutes after the wheelchair division left.
At last we were off, Mickey had started! We seemed to have ended up in a better group of people than the previous day as there was not nearly as many slower runners. After about a mile or so, we made a pit stop in the dark by the woods. We hopped back on the road and continued on our merry little way.
Around this time I saw a couple of ladies wearing ROTE shirts. I shouted “Go ROTERS!” and moved on. Around mile three, I saw a guy wearing a ROTE hat and gave him a thumbs up.
A lot of the first section of the marathon follows the same path as the half marathon. However, it seemed to come quicker even though we were moving about 30 seconds slower pace wise. I think it was just psychological as we had already seen the section of the course before. Of course, running up Main Street towards the castle was still impressive!
The marathon course veered away from the half as we headed down Floridian Way. Whereas the half ran past the speedway, today we were running towards the speedway. Today we were going to get to run around the track! The speedway shows up between the mile 8 and mile 9 markers. The sun had pretty much risen at this point, so we were going to start having to deal with heat issues. I had only been to the speedway once before in all of our trips to WDW. They ran an AP special a couple of years ago for a free ride along in one of the NASCAR cars that we took advantage of.
I forgot what it took to get into the speedway. It is a long narrow tunnel that goes under the speedway. Given that Florida is pretty flat, we were actually going under ground. It was pretty steep both on the way down and back up. While I did not have any problems, I did hear some people complain after the race about it due to steepness and congestion. The little issue I did have was I could feel my feet shift in my shoes. That was going to have to be fixed.
As we came out of the tunnel we started out on the flat part of the track under the cambered curve. Once the track flattened out we moved up to the track. One the flat part of the track were many classic and high performance cars with their owners. I found it a welcome distraction trying to figure out the make and models of the cars. Most of the owners were pretty friendly and waiving to the runners. I thought it was great that they were out there. In addition, the speedway has a new program where you can test drive several high performance cars include Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Nissan. They were at the center of the track being shown off.
We also saw a very excited guy who had a 1960’s Herbie mock up. Herbie’s front trunk would pop up and down. The dude must have really liked Herbie. After we rounded out past the cars we pulled up off to the side and retied our shoes. Ahhhh…. Much better. It is amazing how good a solid shoe feels after is has been loosened over several miles. We ran out of the speedway. Here we ran across the road, through the grass medium (which I thought was an interesting choice) and were on our way to Animal Kingdom. As we left the speedway we passed the Florida Accordion Association, interesting.
It is about a three mile run from the speedway to Animal Kingdom. It was definitely not one of the more interesting parts of the course. I think we ended up passing a trash area or power plant of some sort. We ended up really getting into our Gallowalking at this point with a four minute run with one minute walk. Because of this we start hopping with the same runners over and over. We would run past them and then when we were walking they would slowly catch back up. Two young women had very creative 101 dalmatian costumes.
As we headed into the back of Animal Kingdom, there were several cast members with some of the animals from the petting zoo area. That made us smile a bit. We headed into AK and I could immediately feel it. If you ever walk around AK look at the ground. It is all textured concrete. In the concrete are all sorts of “fossils”. Given the thinness of my shoes, it was definitely affecting me. We started back in Africa, headed through Asia, and past Expedition Everest. We continued on past Nemo, through Dinoland and out a back way. Then we ran through the parking lot and it was time for another high way.
Again, it was about three miles from AK to Disney’s World Wide Sports. DWWS is interesting as it is a world class training facility. Lots of people were not happy about all of the twists and turns while we were there, but it didn’t bother me. Again, we were not in a very congested group so we did not have some of the issues that other people did. We ran through a couple of fields and then we headed out on the track. I never ran track in high school and even if I did I am not sure I would have ever set foot on a track this nice. Wow! The Blonde actually had to tell me to slow down as I got a surge of energy from being on the track.
After the track we ran around some fields some more. Then we ran through one of the more anticipated parts of the course, the baseball stadium. This was right after mile 19. The Atlanta Braves use the stadium for spring training, so it is a pretty nice stadium. We ran on the gravel part around the actual field. I liked the gravel as it was nice and soft, but I heard it got into some people’s shoes.
There were video cameras in there and they put everyone up on the big screen in the stadium. There was a mat we crossed so the announcer could call out our names. There was probably a couple of hundred of supporters in the stands cheering as people’s names were called out. Again, a very nice diversion in my opinion. We exited the stadium, ran through some parking lots, and were on our way back out on a highway.
Here is where we hit the 20th Mile Spectacular (due to the 20th anniversary of the race). This had been really hyped by runDisney. I think it would have been best if they had just not mentioned it. There were some giant puppets along the side of the road which were from a retired Disneyland show. Also, Mickey, Goofy, and Donald were up on a stage for some photo ops. I was expecting a bit more for a “Spectacular”. Oh well, I got to high five The Genie from Aladdin.
I think that we got filtered down to a one lane highway at this point because I remember having to run on some grass again. We were on our way to Disney’s Hollywood Studios now. As we headed up World Drive, we were definitely on one lane as we were running next to buses and cars trying to go to the parks with only cones separating us.
Right after mile 22, we hit DHS. We came in from the back of the park and ran through The Backlot Tour area. They had us running through the building where the prop makers and seamstresses work. We then ran down the streets of New York set area. Then it was time for the infamous hat. From there it was a straight shot out of the park. DHS is a bit small, so we were not there for very long. Then we were on the walkway that we take a lot between DHS and Epcot that runs by the Boardwalk.
As we were running along the canal, I could feel my hands tingling a bit as if my sugar levels were dropping. I told The Blonde that I needed to walk for a couple of minutes to let my body cool down some. This was right at mile 24. I knew then that I was going to finish the race even if I had to crawl the rest of the way! We hit the water tables and got some liquids. We were off running again! Only about two more miles to go.
The route we took was around the Yacht and Beach Club side of the lake vs. Boardwalk. We came into Epcot via the International Gateway and took an off stage entrance. We popped out into the World Showcase between UK and Canada right at mile 25. We could feel the finish at that point. The Blonde wanted to turn left per Doctor Who’s instructions, but we were directed to turn right and run around the showcase.
Quite frankly, I have walked around this section of the park so many times I really didn’t pay much attention. Again, I was focused on the finish. However, the heat was really starting to affect us now. I felt really bad for those slower than us who still had quite a ways to deal with the sun and heat. We turned out of the showcase and towards Spaceship Earth. I started to speed up a bit, however now The Blonde was having a bit of difficulty so we slowed back down. We were going to finish together no matter what at this point! We ran past Spaceship Earth and headed out a side exit.
We hit mile 26! Only 385 yards to go. We did a couple of final twists and turns and saw the the finish line. We grabbed each other’s hands and accelerated. Again, we crossed a mat so they could call out everyone’s names as they finished. Of course, they mispronounced our last name. No matter, three more feet to go! We crossed the finish line! We shouted excitedly. The Blonde jumped into my arms and I picked her up and gave her a big bear hug. I am not sure I would have gotten through it without her.
Our official time was 4:37:46. This gave us a Goofy Challenge time of 6:48:39. We were under seven hours total! When we originally signed up for this we were guesstimating we could finish with a 2:30 and 5:00 times for a total of 7:30. As our training progressed we started aiming closer to 2:00 and 4:00. Due to injuries and the heat, we didn’t come close to that, but we were happy we beat our original guess.
We walked over to the volunteers and got our Mickey medal. It is pretty darn impressive. They directed us over to another area to get our Goofy medals. After that we exchanged some high fives we got our finisher picture taken and headed over to the med tent. This time time I needed to get some ice just to put on my head to cool myself down.
We headed out and got some food and drinks. There was a woman there yelling at all of the runners that she wanted to see every bottle with the top off and people drinking from them. She wasn’t going to get any argument from me.
We headed to bag check and picked up our stuff. We then sat down in the parking lot and just relaxed and changed our shoes. After ten minutes or so we headed over to our bus to sit in some air conditioning and head back to our resorts.
I never thought I would run a marathon, much less one and a half in two days, but I am glad I did. And quite frankly after we were done, it was kind of “Ehh.. No biggie”. We had a decent training plan in place and we did not push it too hard despite both being pretty competitive. Would we do it again? At first I would have said no, especially given the rising costs of runDisney races. We are already signed up for the Disneyland Dumbo Double Challenge to get our Coast to Coast medal. Man, does Disney know how to separate people from their money. However, I may be talked into the 10th Anniversary of Goofy in 2015.
So, who knows what the next challenge holds. We have signed up for several races this year already. Nothing big like Goofy, but still significant. Perhaps at some point you will read a report about an Ironman 70.3 or perhaps even Boston?? We shall see!
Finally, thanks to all of the race volunteers and supporters out on the course! You really do make a difference in a race like this.