That’s the number of miles I ran through Epcot, Magic Kingdom, the Speedway, Animal Kingdom, and Wide World of Sports.
It wasn’t 26.2. But you know what? I wasn’t even going to run it at all. I’d convinced myself that it was pointless to even try – I’d run 3 times in the previous 8 weeks. And my foot hurt just as badly after that second post-boot test run as it had when my ortho stuck me in the boot in the first place. The only thing that the rest period did for me was put me behind schedule.
But I’d run as far as 15 miles before I went on the IR/non-football-injury list back in October. So the day before the marathon, I decided that I would go ahead and set my alarm for an unGodly 3am wake up call. If nothing else, it would be fun to make it to the 6-mile mark and run through The Castle.
My prize wasn’t waiting on me at the finish line, it was hearing Landry squeal “faster! faster!!!” while Jason tried to make us puke on the tea cups (that girl has a stomach of iron, just like her mom :)). Or “higher, momma, higher!” as we rode Dumbo or the Magic “Couches” (Carpets) of Aladdin.
Frankly, my prize was the trip itself and all the magical moments that come with seeing your 3 year old light-up like Christmas morning, all week long. (Ask her about getting to ride in a tea cup with Alice from Wonderland!)
And Lapu Lapus from ‘Ohana.
So when I crossed the 13.1 mile line, I high-fived myself. Literally. Half a marathon down, another half to go. I was certain I had it in the bag. I was moving pretty quickly, the bottom half of my body was holding up surprisingly well, and I had just sang a Rains in Africa chorus duet with a dude in a kilt (that was not. awkward. at. all).
And then it was all over. I took a quick potty break and Oh shit I can’t get up.
My legs were done. DONE. The muscles in my legs had tightened up and I was trapped inside that disgusting blue rectangle of hell. And all because evolution couldn’t come up with a better solution than that whole pee-sitting-down thing. I mean, really. Having to limp by all those lucky bastards who ran almost to the tree line to pee standing up was a little insulting.
I did manage to get up (because that could have been bad) and out and then spent the next 5 miles trying to get my legs moving at more than a 3mph pace. The pain in my hips, excruciating. My feet were burning. Stabbing pain from inside both ankle joints. And whatever usually holds my right knee together was probably back in Animal Kingdom having an African Margarita.
Around mile 18.5, I got a second wind for about 5 minutes and when the pacers passed me, they shouted: “You have two minutes to get to the bridge or they’re going to pick you up!”
*** that. Let ‘em pick me up. I need a beer. (And a beer I had… followed by a 6-glasses-of-wine chaser.) (God, I love Epcot.) (It does seem pretty lame on the outside. Totally worth burning a park day, though.)
And picked me up they did. At mile 19.52. I was the happiest person on a bus full of sad people. “Failing” had never felt so good.
I made it a personal best 19.52 miles. And set a half marathon pace PR. Not too shabby for someone who hadn’t run more than 4 miles at once since late September.
6 days later, everything is back to normal. Even my right knee has decided it belongs on a human, not a flamingo.
I’d completely forgotten how addicting running is. My foot is getting a couple weeks of full rest and then we’re going to be back on the road again, training for the next half marathon. I seriously cannot wait. I need to wait a few months before suggesting to Jason that we go back for the Dopey Challenge next year (that’s a 5K, 10K, half, and full over 4 days). At this point, he might divorce me. Or worse – make me go get a real job