[This post brought to you entirely by my phone... I'll be back home eventually.]
I had several goals going into Saturday’s race in Disney World.
Goal 1: don’t get swept for not keeping the 16-minute-mile pace. Once I started timing myself, I figured I should be able to manage that as long as I was able to do SOME running (and not break an ankle).
Goal 2 was the one I really had in my sights: no walking. I completed the Couch-to-5K training program, but have started to get some significant leg pain after my runs. And while I finished my 30-minute run, I hadn’t yet made it to the full 3.1 miles.
I couldn’t decide if I was confident or nervous. What if I had dragged my whole family to Florida for a race I couldn’t even finish?
But then I went to pick up my race pack, in true Disney fashion, and got all kinds of excited.
That night, I got to meet my fellow Shredheads, most of whom were running the half-marathon. I got my race shirt, and set it all out for our early-morning start.
The morning was early. On the bus at 5:45. An hour before sunrise. 45 degrees. But the bus was crowded, there were costumes and tiaras all over the place. There were bright lights and a DJ pumping loud music. I jumped and danced to stay warm.
The sun started to come up. We pushed into the starting area. A few hundred feet and a few thousand people between me and the starting line.
Behind us, a preview of what awaited us at mile 3. Pumped.
Fireworks marked the start. It was a mob, but a happy one. We wound around the parking lot and entered Epcot at the one-mile mark, between Mexico and Norway.
There were volunteers cheering us along. Disney characters all along the route, and people stopping to wait in a line 8 people deep to take pictures. Not me. I had a goal.
My pace was slower than I expected. In classic Disney Imagineering, I thought I was close to the finish and the route took a few more hidden turns.
One last turn: finish line. I ran across it. 37:14. Fast? Nah. But I ran it. I ran. The whole thing. 3.1 miles. I earned that silly rubber finisher’s medallion, god dammit.
Alright, so my leg hurt like a motherf–ker for the next two days and I’m still limping down stairs. But I have an appointment with a physical therapist next week. I have another race in May. I’m looking for longer ones. Despite the stabbing pain in my right shin, I found myself jealous of the half marathon runners I saw the next day.