…to the end of the road.
I know this has been a long, drawn out, painful process. Much like my running life has been the last few years. And it ain’t over yet. Well, almost.
The pain is coming to an end.
Jeep packed up, Wonder Mutt dropped off at the neighbors, and off to the most Magical Place on Earth we go. Not without a giant case of the nerves. After checking in to our little temporary home for the next few days the night before, we headed over to the expo. Nothing too exciting there, just your usual, if more complicated, expo shenanigans as in past years. Complicated as in “let’s just make everyone walk all over kingdom come to get anywhere else between packet pick up, shirt pick up, and goodie shopping” kind of complicated.
We managed to get through all the madness, hook up with running buddies Rae and Lisa, grab a brewski upstairs from the expo, head off for a day of eating, shooting aliens in Studios, grabbing some moonshine at Fort Wilderness (literally, moonshine!), and singing our way all over central Florida. Yep, that was us you heard.
Fast forward to Sunday morning. Oh-dark-thirty. No sleep. Nerves jumping like Pop Rocks. I tape the beeJesus out of my knees, get dressed, try to eat the bagel the hubs had so thoughtfully picked up for me the day before, quadruple check that I have all race necessities – tunes, shades, Sport Beans, sanity (not so much), and off we go. Hubs drops me off at Coronado Springs so I can hop race transpo to the start, and back to bed goes he. After a very short wait, bus arrives, off to WWoS we go, and the reality of what’s about to happen REALLY starts to sink in.
Holy crap woman, you’re about to run 13.1 miles. Again. With the very real possibility that you may finish, not finish, implode before you hit the start line, or act like that ninny in A League of Their Own.
Thankfully, the wait to start wasn’t unbearably long, and before I knew it, Rudy and Carissa, those ever faithful runDisney announcers, had the corrals off and running. Ever vigilant of not starting off too fast, I ignored the typical bizarre looks I was getting from runners around me as I had the following convo with my psyche. Apparently out loud.
“What. Can’t you see I’m trying to run here?”
“Yeah. That’s why I need you to rein it in and make sure you stick to your intervals. Otherwise you may not finish.”
“I may not finish anyway. And I hate running intervals.”
“Hubs said if you finish, he’ll have Patron waiting for you.”
(even more silence)
Needless to say, agave juice won out.
Soooo, as I wound my way at a snail’s pace around Animal Kingdom, of course I had to stop and hang out with these guys.
The new course then meandered along random Disney World roads and back towards Epcot. At which point, my eyes lit up like I had just discovered a giant bowl of spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. Due in no small part to what was probably the GREATEST MILE MARKER EVER……
Mile 9. I knew I was going to finish this bad boy one way or another. But not before I had to go through what I lovingly termed the MILE OF REALLY MOTHER-EFFER?!? I JUST COULDN’T GET THROUGH THIS WITHOUT YOU, COULD I?!?
Hello Mile 10, hello “what the hell just imploded in my left leg?” Oh wait, just a lovely little mixture of tight IT band, tuckered out left glute, with a touch of inner left knee soreness thrown in for good measure. Now, all that being said, I had stuck to my intervals, stopped to stretch every 1-2 miles, and never pushed the pace the entire time. I knew this was not going to be a speedy half, and had already decided to just have fun with it. Having this blow up at Mile 10 didn’t really bother me all that much, and if I had to walk it in from there, then so be it. I could live with it. I knew the hubby and Lisa were already celebrating her oh-so-speedy finish, and I had every intention of joining them in consuming vast quantities of celebratory libations before much longer.
Then I knew the runner gods had been paying attention. Mile 10 consisted of an insanely banked ramp up to an overpass. A ramp which had no flat spot to run on. ANYWHERE. Now, I had received very strict orders from the Man and Torture Tony to NOT RUN THE RAMPS OR ELSE.
And for once, I actually listened.
Not just because there wasn’t a flat spot anywhere along that ramp to run on, but also because – you know – that whole pesky left leg thing.
Then, a Disney miracle happened.
As the ramp peaked at the top of an overpass around Mile 11, I decided just to test the waters a bit and see if the extended walk break may have been enough for everybody to calm the hell down. After a few cautious jogging steps – and a lot of breath holding – things seemed to actually be…..ok.
What? Were you not paying attention?
EVERYTHING SEEMED TO BE OK
AS IN NO PAIN
In complete and utter disbelief, I called the hubs and Lisa, told them to get the ‘ritas chilling, kicked it into high gear – well, MY high gear – and brought it on home.
The rest – as they say – is history. Enjoy.
Enjoy the ride.
Thank you for following along with me on what has been on helluva ride. Your good wishes and crossed paws all helped me cross that finish line on that beautiful morning, and I could not have done it without you. I especially could not have done it without the encouragement of my hubs, my family, Lisa, PT Pam, Torture Tony, and Dr. Testa. It’s been a long and painful journey, but we have finally arrived, in no small part to every one of you. My running adventures will continue, and I hope to take all of you along on them. Hang on tight, as the ride is only going to get better from here on out!