Yes, you’ve read that correctly. I am a MARATHONER. Last, Sunday January 13th, 2019 I went to sleep a marathoner.
I went to Disney World and completed the Dopey Challenge.
I have done other Run Disney runs, which are just over 3 days. I think the hardest thing of all was adding in the 4th day, which is also the Full.
I didn’t post anything on the journey leading up to go to Disney, if anything I just announced I was going to Disney because Mickey called me home. I love Disney and fully can relax amidst the chaos and magic.
But I was going to Disney to run the Dopey Challenge.
For anyone that does not know what the Dopey Challenge is, it is you run the following over 4 days; a 5k, 10k, a half marathon and on the final day you run a full marathon.
Koren and I went in with a plan, as best as we could plan.
The morning of the 5k the weather was Canadian weather, it was 5 outside. A lot of people thought we should have been able to tough it out without our teeth chattering, but I didn’t add in “standing outside in a Minnie Mouse running costume for over 2.5hrs before you get to run” into my training plan. When my corral went off, I couldn’t feel my toes.
Koren and I just went out in the 5k to have fun, smile for pics, thank all the volunteers and not stress our bodies.
Friday the 10k I was dressed as Daisy and it still was cold. This time we had the mylar blankets and was able to keep warm. I met some pretty amazing people in the corral who just made us laugh to help pass the time. The 10k we just went out and had the same thoughts, slow, steady and no stress as time was not a factor, just saving our energy and bodies for the following two days of running.
Saturday the half marathon, this course was the same as the Princess Half, the last time I did this exact course was when I wiped out and don’t have the memory of the route. So I enjoyed collecting memories of running up Main Street and running through the Castle, which was beyond magical.
After we finished the half our game plan kicked in. Go eat, bath (by the way we found these amazing bath bombs at the expo which are amazing with recovery… go check out…… need to insert website ), nap and get up and go to Disney Springs to just walk and keep our legs limber. I like Disney Springs as they have this amazing vegan bakery.
Our goal was to eat and drink during the day so we didn’t just do one large meal. I always said half the battle of this weekend is making sure you get rest and sleep. That is half the challenge in refueling the body. My water was full of nuun on Saturday as Run Disney sent out a warning that the weather was going to be hot on Sunday.
I figured my luck, I basically freeze on the first 3 runs that when I am attempting my second try at a marathon the weather would spike right up in to the 30’s with nothing but blue skies and sunshine.
I can’t say I had nerves, maybe more a fear of the famous balloon ladies taking me off the course, but I knew my body could easily go 37.9kms without issues. I more just wanted it done and over with, the idea of just starting and getting it done was all I could think of. My running costume was based upon the unicorn theme, anyone who knows me (and seen my work desk) will truly understand, if I could believe in unicorns I knew I could believe in me.
Koren and I discussed a new game plan. As we would be shot off before 5:45amish we knew we had roughly a good hour before the sun rose. So our goal was to “break” the rules and go hard out of the gate to get as far as we could before my Asthma would kick it up. The game plan was to keep my puffer in my system so my lungs had the help always and should not struggle.
We started out strong as what we wanted. It was already humid and warm by the 5km mark. My body was fighting me and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. We ran the 30/30 method, which is run for 30 and walk for 30.
By the time the sun was up, my body was screaming at me, my head hurt, my lungs felt like they had turned to rocks. But I was not giving up. By km 29, I was in pain, my left shoulder and side was killing me, my asthma had me slowed down.
I told Koren at km 33 to go on without me. I was not admitting defeat but I was not going to allow her not to be a marathoner, and complete the dopey challenge. I think it was the hardest decision she made as we stood there and I kept pushing her on, that I was ok to be left alone and I would still do my best. I couldn’t honest hold her back, it was unfair. It was an emotional moment that is for sure, I know she felt like she was leaving me behind, but I was holding her back.
After she left, my music died of all things so it was just me and my thoughts. I knew that I had to dig deeper than anything I’ve ever done in my life, to stay ahead of the balloon ladies if I wanted to completely this. When I hit the one ramp to go on to the next road, I realized I knew where I was. This was the finish from the Wine and Dine. I was so close to Hollywood Studios. I was being blinded by the pain and thought my head was going to explode, I was over heated but I hit km 37.9 and I was not giving up. I can’t even describe the words, thoughts and prayers I gave, but I was out there with these random strangers all over the place just cheering me on.
I made it to the boardwalk to get into Epcot. I had a medic come and tell me the Balloon ladies where about 5mins behind me, this just made me find strength I didn’t know I had and I just started back doing my run walk. I told myself I didn’t have time for my puffer and just was going to get it done. Epcot was another world, the people, the words of encouragement from staff, other runners who had finished was amazing.
I made it to the Choir and I knew at that moment I was going to become a marathoner. I did it. I was already crying and was thankful my glasses was hiding it. This moment was a moment I couldn’t even and still can’t comprehend.
I saw the finish and I just kept going. I remember the announcing saying my name and I just looked up and I was there. I crossed. I finished. I was a marathoner.
So this is where it gets ugly. I needed my puffer, I had no feeling anywhere on my left side. I was able to get my puffer out and by this time these women were getting me in a wheel chair. I couldn’t breathe. I was taken into the onsite Mash style hospital set up, I was transferred to a cot and immediately given oxygen and Ventolin to get everything working again, once my stats climbed back up to a number they were happy with, they started feeding me salt to help with the swelling, it was at this point I was able to get the nurse to help me get my phone plugged into a battery back so I could let Koren know where to find me. The nurse was able to get me to walk a bit with my stats remaining in a “safe zone”.
They moved me over to the “PT” department which in my delirious state I thought I was getting a massage from Disney, on the way to this location I got Koren brought to me. I ended up meeting a nice orthopedic surgeon, which was not giving me a massage.
He broke the news to me that I ran basically my marathon with my shoulder and elbow dislocated. Which he was kind enough to tell me that if was in a real hospital I would have been given drugs and sedation, but I was on a runners high, so how much worse could the pain of been? Yup, he was right when he said lean right to vomit.
The one Run Disney rep went and go my medals that I needed to collect. So I missed out on getting the “I did it picture” and the thrill of having that medal slipped over my head, but again nothing can take away I am a marathoner and I completed the dopey challenge.
After everything was settled I was released with paperwork to bring back to Canada and got to wear a super cute sling. We got a golf cart ride to the bus to head back to the resort.
It was after I got back to the resort I finally posted that I was a marathoner.
To this day, I still look at all the medals and I can’t believe I was strong enough mentally to complete the challenge and to finish my marathon. I don’t know how I did it and even explaining it here, it doesn’t seem real. But my heart got me to the finish.
Some facts I burnt over 14,497 calories just during the 4 runs. This is not including the walking, rides and other things I did while awake to burn off calories.
I used Endurance Tap as all my fuel for the run. I went through a lot as my own running plan has me fueling up differently.
I went through tubes upon tubes of nuun. People forget that even if it’s chilly and you don’t sweat like in the heat, you still need to replace those electrolytes.
Now to thank some people;
Koren – Thank you for agreeing to come along on this crazy adventure. Thank you for keeping it just as quiet as I did and not posting anything running related. Thank you for the random yelling at me during some of the running points. Also you did confirm to me Disney does not have medics dressed as runners as I’ve always believed since my fall. I’m glad I got to share this journey with you.
Aaron – Just thank you for believing in me from the start, finish and all the emails in between. I’m blessed our lives crossed paths.
To my co-workers (turned family) – Thank you for the facetiming, for the hugs of encouragement before I left, the support during and all the hugs after I returned to work, limping and barely able to go in and out of the office. You all are amazing cheerleaders and I can’t wait to do the Run Like a Diva in Toronto together!
To my Family, thank you for continuing to support me in this journey.
To the family at Endurance Tap – Thank you!
My nuun family and Legacy family members – Thank you as always for the support! Including you Andy who I told first before the world, I finally did it!
This accomplishment is about pride and I am still in awe of my own self, and my resilience in not giving up on me.
To anyone reading this, you can do anything you set your heart to, your mind will follow, even if you don’t succeed the first time, don’t ever give up.
Other pics from the runs: