Just a Girl











{January 10, 2007}   Goofy Challenge and Other Race Notes

This is my story:

About 3 years ago on my 29th birthday I weighed about 210 pounds. Yes, I was overweight and not active at all. I woke up on my 29th birthday and decided that day after looking at myself in the mirror that I wanted to start the next decade of my life off right and feeling good about myself. So I decided at that moment to run. I told my mom I wanted to run a race with her the very next weekend. Without any training or anything whatsoever I just got up that Saturday morning and ran a 5k race. It was the Pollen 5k. It took me around 33 or 34 minutes to run the race. I finished though and after I finished I realized how good I felt. I did not care about my time, I did not care about anything except that I finished. (I have kept this attitude my entire time of running.) I then started running by myself on the trail on Lakeshore or showing up at the Trak Shak and running by myself. I did not know of any groups at the time and was too embarrassed to really run with anyone because I felt that I was not good enough. Finally about August I met up with Will McCally and Christy Parsons at the Kudzu 5k. They were training for the Marine Corp Marathon. They let me run with them during the race and it was the best experience of my life. I finally broke a 30 minute 5k and just was happy with the fact that I got to run with someone. At that moment I decided that I wanted to run a marathon after talking to them and decided that it was going to be the Huntsville Marathon that December of 2004. They both said I could train with them. They really helped me out and Will even went to Huntsville with me to run the race. I ran my first marathon in 5 hours and 1 minute. I was hooked as soon as I finished. I did not realize how addicted a person could become to running. I decided right then that I wanted to run a marathon in every state. Then not just 2 months later I got injured with a severe fracture in my foot and was in a boot for 8 weeks. Talk about a down fall. It was so hard not to run and not do anything active after that. I finally got out of the boot and tried everything I could to get motivated again to run. I realized that I was going to loose my dream of running a marathon in every state if I did not start getting back into the program. So my awesome parents said that if I pick any state to run a marathon in they would go with me and help me out. So we picked St. Louis in April of 2006. I trained for it just like I did the Huntsville and ended up running it in 4 hours and 41 minutes. That is 20 minutes off my first marathon. That was so awesome to me. The marathon there was a great experience because my mom was able to come out and see me at the 20th mile and help me out by giving me a coke and some gummy bears. Yes I have to have a sugar rush to help me get my sugar level back up after running that far. I felt so good about my run that I wanted to do another one right away. Well, I was not able to do one that quickly due to some other factors, but decided with a friend of mine that I wanted to run the Goofy Challenge in Orlando, Florida.

The Goofy Challenge is described as one of the craziest races in the world. It is where you run a ½ marathon on Saturday and turn around the very next day and run the full Marathon on Sunday. Well, I trained for this for months. I made sure that I ran 5 weekends in a row a 10 mile run on Saturday and a 20 mile run on Sunday. I was feeling good and everything was perfect. I was really ready. However, I was not prepared for the race when I got there. You see, the entire time that I was training for this race I trained in cooler/colder weather. I knew exactly how much water to drink, when to take goo/jelly beans, etc. However, when I got to Florida it was a totally different story. The weather was going to be in the mid 80’s and it was going to be very humid. Well, I did not train for this at all. My race did not end up like I thought it would. I ended up getting so dehydrated that for two days I have not been able to keep anything down and have done everything I can to re-hydrate myself. I learned a very valuable lesson during this race. Never try to run a ½ and a whole marathon in hot temperatures with humidity.

I am very glad that I did the race and that I finished both races with pretty good times, however, I will never do this race again. I did the half marathon in 2 hours and 19 minutes and did the marathon in 5 hours and 50 minutes.

Below are some race notes that I have regarding this race for those of you that want to know about the experience and what I probably would have done differently. For those of you that want to do the race just remember no one can predict the weather and no one can tell you how to run it but you really need to learn to listen to you body.

Race Notes

Good Points:

1. You get 3 really cool metals, Donald Duck for the ½ marathon, Mickey Mouse for the Full Marathon and Goofy for doing both.

2. You can stop and have your picture taken with every character during the race.

3. You can go to all the parks and ride the rides (you do have to pay for these passes though and get a park hopper if you want to go to the parks).

4. Expo is great, many different things to buy and see and the people are really nice.

5. People that are running on the course are great and are very helpful especially when they see you are running the Goofy.

6. You get to run thru all 4 of the parks but see notes below.

Bad Points:

1. The last bus to take you to the start leaves at 4am if you miss this then good luck getting to the start. The race does not start until 6am.

2. You have to sit on the road for 2 hours before the race starts and there either are not enough portal potties or none at all depending on which corral you are located in.

3. If you don’t bring money with you or bring your own stuff then you have nothing to eat or drink while waiting.

4. You run on mostly concrete.

5. Spectators are not allowed on the course at all except in the parking lots of the parks or in the park if they want to use their park pass to get in and if you don’t have a park hopper then if you leave the park you cannot get back in that day.

6. The only people that you see out on the roads are the water stop people or every once in awhile you will see some workers cheering you on.

7. The only people that you really see in the parks are the workers cheering you on.

8. My mother was not allowed to get near me at all on the course except when she found a spot at Epcot to sneak into and give me my soda.

9. After party on Sunday night is not really an after party. All you get is a free pass to get into a bar called Paradise Island and you pay for everything else and no one really goes because it is not something for runners.

Personal Notes:

1. I will never do this race again.

2. I will make sure that I train in the heat more to learn how to consume enough water.

3. I will make sure I have someone to run with because it is so boring to run by yourself, especially during this race since you are only in each park for about 2 miles each and the rest out in no man’s land.

4. If you don’t feel good toward the end of your marathon, just walk the last 6 miles, I did and I think that actually saved me.

5. Try to eat even though you don’t feel like it, food is fuel and you have to try anyways.

6. Drink tons and tons of water days before the races even start.

I am very glad that I did the race. I am very happy and proud of myself for actually finishing both races and conquering this hard task. I just want those of you to know that if you are thinking about doing this race make sure you have someone to run the race with, make sure that you are really prepared and make sure you train properly. I believe that I trained right, I listened to everyone, and even ultra runners gave me some great advice. I just was not prepared for the heat or the concrete. But now I am officially a Goofy Runner Girl and can say that I did it.

And now, I am preparing myself for the next race, not sure which one it will be but I now have 47 more states to run a full marathon in plus DC and have decided to do a ½ marathon in every state also since I have 46 states left for that.

I am about to be 32 years old on February 11, 2007 and will be running the Mercedes ½ Marathon. I am proud to say that I think of myself as a runner, I may not be fast, I may not have a perfect runners body (I have lost about 70 pounds since I started running), but I can tell you one thing about me, I am very happy with who I am now. Running has changed my life and has made me a much better person. Sounds crazy I know but those of you that have been in my shoes or are in my shoes now understand exactly what I am saying.

To all of you out there just starting out or have been running for awhile, good luck in whatever your goals are and just remember, what’s done is done, you cannot change the past, and you cannot predict the future, but you can do the best you can today for yourself.

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sagaciouspines says:

Good job on finishing both races. I finished the Disney marathon this year, and I wasn’t prepared for the humidity. I can’t image running a half-marathon in the heat and humid only to wake up bright and early and go twice the distance the next day.



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