Goofy Challenge ::: The Race That Wasn’t

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Months ago, my most amazing college roomie, Bethany directly asked me to run the 2016 Disney Marathon with her. I immediately said yes with no hesitation. Within minutes I was signed up for the Goofy Challenge (running 13.1 on Saturday and 26.2 on Sunday, yes — GOOFY!) And shortly after, any training run that we did donned #CollegeRoomiesDoGoofy.

Fast forward to this weekend… many of those past weekends did not include a training run or any running at all. I knew I was being Goofy for attempting the weekend, but d@mmit was gonna try.

If you follow me on social media, you know that Disney is my jam. And I know that I can speak for Bethi here — it is her’s a well! We were excited to meet up — she was hanging with her friend Sam on Friday, while I met up with Jessica, Andrea, & Denise for a blogger event hosted by Cigna in Epcot. #CignaRunTogether

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The afternoon was full of fun and we tried to get to bed as early as we could, 2:30AM was going to come early.

Saturday morning — up and at ’em — ready to be Thor! I was pretty excited for my costume (I am for every.single.one!), Bethi was Scarlet Witch and Sam was Captain America — we made a great team! *side note: Bethi met Sam in Guam, both their hubbies are in the Navy. I have heard soooo many stories about this gorgeous girl and was so grateful to meet her this weekend!

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Jessica was also staying with us this weekend and she was able to grab this shot for us! Fast forward three hours and 40 minutes… and I had put the hammer down on that half marathon.

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By no means were we speedy — took our time — chatted — had fun — even danced a little. I even tormented myself with an ice bath afterwards in hopes of gaining an edge on recovery so that I could complete Sunday’s run with Bethany. I fueled up with some carbs & coconut water and all four of us ladies napped. We hit up Animal Kingdom for dinner and headed to bed early. *We got fortune cookies at the end of our meal, I might have used those numbers for my Power Ball ticket that I purchased for a chance at 1.5 Billion.

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And…. Sunday morning.

I am 99% sure that I did not sleep well. My body and mind just weren’t there. I know it could be read in my face… Everything was tired but I made myself move. I KT tapped my knees & ankles, added my BB8 flare to my outfit and was out the door. I tried to find a happy place in my brain — all I could think of was how I did not want to run and how nervous I was about how it would feel to start running again.

I just wanted to be there for Bethi.

She asked me to be here, and I wanted to follow through. More than anything.

Waiting in our corral, my mind was racing; it was like I had 20 devils and only 5 angels screaming inside there… The fireworks exploded, my spirits lifted a tad, and we were off.

Mile 1: Immediately my chest started to hurt; it brought back thoughts of the 2013 Chicago Marathon. I ran that race just two weeks after running the Berlin Marathon (best.marathon.ever) and my body was screaming at me to stop; during Chicago, I was actually stopping at medical tents hoping to fall over so that I did not have to verbally have to say that I needed to DNF; I did finish the Chicago Marathon, but sadly that is/was my worst to date. Back to Disney…I took deep breaths and it helped, but the flash backs of Chicago scared the sh!t outta me.

Mile 2: At this point I already knew I was not going to make the full marathon. We all had chatted the night before, just outside Animal Kingdom was half way — that became my new goal. Stay with Bethi for half the race — I knew she had the mental power to push her to the finish. She is such a doll — any normal person would be upset, mad, or disappointed — I had just told her I couldn’t finish it with her —  but she didn’t care. Bethi was just happy. Happy that I was making the best choice for me and that she has this time to chat with me. I say that she is the bestest all the time. She really is. 

Mile 3: Sausage fingers; this was new — I even took everything off that was constricting my hands, but they remained to look like Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I continued to swallow even more of my ego and decided to pull off course just inside Magic Kingdom. At this point I was crying — I was so disappointed in myself for not doing more — not training more — not being able to run with Bethi. But I knew my body was talking yelling at me to stop what I was doing…

Mile 4: Just before this marker — we hugged it out and I made her leave me. At this point, my average mile was 16:30/mile and that was cutting it too close to the balloon ladies. I was already failing at finishing and was not going to jeopardize her finish because of my slowness.

I do not think I could have hung my head lower.

I am sure I cried again at this point. I felt like such a loser & such a disappointment to Bethany. I am still beating myself over it — and that is fine — I’ll stop eventually.

Just before entering the side of Magic Kingdom, I stopped at the medical tent and said, “Sir, I am done for today.” He was astonished that I did not need anything and simply asked me to take a seat.

Hello to my first DNF.

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I clapped for the passing runners and soon asked what happened next; I explained that although I have run multiple runDisney races, I did not know what happened on this side of the fence.

If you do decide to call it a day during the race, you are asked to wait at the closest medical tent until the last of the runners pass — just past them are the vans that sweep you up — greeted with a smile, a Cast Member welcomed me and four other ladies (all of us were pushing for the Goofy Challenge) on board that took us to the finish line, which is just outside Epcot. During our ride, he answered our questions and informed us that we still did receive our medals.

We were greeted with cheers & applause — my head sank lower, I did not deserve the attention. A sweet older man attempted to put the marathon medal around my neck, I politely declined and explained that I could not let him do that… runDisney had food boxes and beverages ready for us; from there we could grab our belongings in gear check and carry on our way. Upon entering my gear check area, I caught them all by surprise — the amazing volunteers immediately started clapping and greeted me with congratulations. The only thing I could do was hang my head and shake it to say ‘no’… I grabbed my bag and rushed out since I could not hide the tears.

At this point, I was sulking, there was no hiding it. Although I made the best decision for myself & my body, put my ego aside, I was indescribably crushed that I was not there for Bethany.

Made my way back to the hotel — cleaned up — texted all my marathon runners and headed to the Boardwalk to cheer; stayed there until I saw each of my ladies then hightailed it to the finish line for sweaty hugs.

Bethany did finish… with flying colors, a big smile on her face, and no crazy soreness! I am so, so, so incredibly proud of her for becoming a marathoner.

The universe knew. Totally knew and did not give me much of a heads up. *At the expo, I did not buy anything 39.3, I did not want to jinx myself. *Race morning, Bethany did not put her half marathon medal in my gear check bag for pictures afterwards. *I will be running the Star Wars Half Marathon with RunDisney in April, and still have my BB8 costume to wear — no pictures were captured that morning.

Final thoughts. *I am an idiot for thinking I could run a marathon with no training. I know better. Much better. But honestly, life got busy and I was not willing to sacrifice time away from blogging or growing my brand to run & train. I should have trained more for Bethany. Plain and simple. *runDisney does a phenomenal job at everything. Even though my day ended with a DNF, every aspect was still a class act, organized and ran smoothly. *That pretty marathon medal never even made it into my house. Jessica runs for Lauren, who has Rett Syndrome; Ca will sometimes send her own medals to Lauren and this is where the medal I received will be heading. My ego came back in full force when I would not even let them put it around my neck — I immediately knew where it belonged. *I do not think I will ever attempt a marathon again. I have run six. Just those six races alone is 157.2 miles. I’m good with that. But really, unless someone sponsors me to run a foreign race in an amazing city — it’s shorter races and half marathons for me.

Caitlyn
Caitlyn
Caitlyn is a Tampa native with a love for all things food, fitness, travel & Disney. Currently:
▪️Social Media content creator & photographer with Social Media Squared
▪️Lifestyle Blogger & Social Influencer
▪️Foodie, Queen of tequila & coffee (sometimes combined, mostly enjoyed separately), villain-lover, movie aficionado, #joblove-r & owner of way too many sugar skulls
mm

Caitlyn

Caitlyn is a Tampa native with a love for all things food, fitness, travel & Disney. Currently: ▪️Social Media content creator & photographer with Social Media Squared ▪️Lifestyle Blogger & Social Influencer ▪️Foodie, Queen of tequila & coffee (sometimes combined, mostly enjoyed separately), villain-lover, movie aficionado, #joblove-r & owner of way too many sugar skulls

24 Comments

  1. Reply

    Famous Ashley Grant

    January 14, 2016

    I’m proud of you for so many reasons. First, because you had the smarts to stop- someone I knew didn’t stop and ended up in the hospital with serious shin splints. Two, you run- this is something I don’t know if I’ll ever have the willpower to do- although I’m not saying never ever 😉 Three, you showed up the second day to try and be there for a friend. You are a class act Caitlyn and anyone who says different is a cotton headed ninny muggins! Here’s to your next race and many more after that!

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Thank you!

  2. Reply

    Kris Olsen

    January 14, 2016

    I so relate to this! DNF are 3 letters I have in my race history too! I attempted to climb The Empire State Building,..known as The Empire State Builidng Run Up! 86 flights 1576 steps! I cried when I had to stop! Somewhere past the 40th flight! Thanks for sharing your story! I have never publicly shared mine! Maybe someday! I too run half marathons, one international one! Headed to Key West this weekend! Happy Running to you!!! ~Kris

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Woah! I can’t imagine that climb! High five to us for making a tough decision!

  3. Reply

    Alaina @ the simple peach

    January 14, 2016

    I appreciate your honesty! I ran the Disney Marathon this past weekend and it was tough. I can’t imagine doing the goofy or dopey challenge! Eek!

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Congrats on your finish!

  4. Reply

    Christina

    January 14, 2016

    I am so proud of you for listening to your body and for being so honest and candid. You are still an inspiration in my eyes, no matter what!

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Aww, thank you!

  5. Reply

    Jacqueline Seevers

    January 14, 2016

    Listening to your body is waaaaayyy more important than pushing on! Glad you didn’t hurt yourself. I’m sure your friend loves you the same for just trying your best and cheering her on!

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Thank you! I never said it before — CONGRATS on your Dopey finish! I now know what it takes!

  6. Reply

    Tara F

    January 14, 2016

    Caitlyn, you did an amazing job and more importantly, you were there for your friend. You did what a Best Friend should do.. Offer support. Just because you didn’t cross the finish line, does not mean you are not a winner. I am proud to know you. Also, thank you for thinking of her IR4 buddy. I know that the medals mean a lot to them.

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Thank you 🙂

  7. Reply

    Nicole @ Fitful Focus

    January 14, 2016

    I think it takes so much more strength to listen to your body and accept the DNF than to try to power through all those miles. You would have ended up really hurting yourself, and then you’d have DNFs on all those future races. You did an awesome job supporting your friend, and that is something you should get a medal for!

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Thank you 🙂 I was very afraid of injury — glad I avoided it!

  8. Reply

    Char @ Nutritiously Fit

    January 14, 2016

    Sorry you had your first DNF but you made the right move!! This past Sunday was actually my first marathon and I’m still recovering!! Hope you’re getting some rest too and you’ll come back strong for the next race!!!

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Congrats on your first full!!

  9. Reply

    Nanci @ This Crazy Life of Mine

    January 14, 2016

    I am super proud of you. Deciding to DNF is a tough choice but given the signs, you made the right choice so you didn’t injure yourself. You are a great friend to support Bethany along her journey and be there for her at the finish. 🙂

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Thank you — and thanks for checking in on me as soon as you found out. I’m lucky to have you as a friend!

  10. Reply

    Steph G

    January 19, 2016

    Great post Caitlyn. I’m sorry you are feeling disappointed, but happy that you listened to your body. You do SO much and I always look to you for motivation. Having a DNF won’t ever, ever change that! You go girl. <3

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Thanks girly!

  11. Reply

    Tamieka@fitballingrunningmom

    January 21, 2016

    Way to listen to your body!

    What an amazing friend you are! Your support of your friend is Nobel and so awesome.

    I have yet to do a Disney run but looking forward to adding one soon.

    • mm
      Reply

      Caitlyn

      January 25, 2016

      Thanks — was a tough decision. Disney is a MUST do!

  12. Reply

    Jean

    August 26, 2016

    Caitlyn, It was great to read about your experience even if it didn’t have a happy ending. It also reaffirmed for me that I made the right decision when I bowed out and deferred my registration for The Goofy Challenge last December. I had run the Disney half marathon the year before despite minimal training due to an ACL injury but I finished it. It was my first half marathon. I had signed up for it to run for a charity, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in the wake of the death of a classmate and fellow cheerleader of my daughters in high school. I was fundraising for AFSP and running in memory of Abby, who was just 15 yrs old when she tragically took her own life. I was so happy with the race and experience that I decided to come back in 2016 and do the Goofy for the same cause.. But like you, I didn’t take the time to properly train. I kept making excuses that “next week” I would start so on and so on, until I found myself in early Oct having not run at all. To boot I was about 60lbs over weight. I was too for the half marathon but there’s a big difference running 13 miles overweight to 39.3 miles over two days. I started training and was trying to make up for lost time. Obviously my body was like “whoa whoa whoa, you can’t just thrust these ridiculous miles at us”. after my 10 miles run on Halloween, I began having hip issues. I saw an ortho but he couldn’t see anything. Kept trying to train but the pain was too much. Finally discovered what the problem was by a PT at my work (don’t ask me exactly what it was but something with my ligament out of whack and it causing my legs to be different lengths. He popped it back and it began to get better but here it was now the beginning of Dec. I just couldn’t fathom running 39.3 miles with little to no training. I went back and forth because I felt so guilty as I really wanted to honor Abby’s memory and run for AFSP again. In the end I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of injury to my body or my pride, not to mention how expensive it is. I saw they still had deferral spots left open as of Dec 27th, which so surprised me and I decided to take it as a “sign”. I deferred my registration for the 2017 Goofy. I actually just started training a few weeks ago. I know, really should have been training the minute that deferral went in but hey, I’m doing it now and it is going great and I am very motivated. Reading your blog and about your experience and motivated me even further. Now every time I consider skipping a run or workout I will think twice. I really want this to be a wonderful experience and be fully prepared for it so in the event (praying not) that I can’t finish I can at least know I did everything possible. Look forward to reading more.
    Jean Zaccardo

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