The Blue Eyed Warrior

The Adventures of the Norse Goddess of War

WDW Half Marathon: Goofy Challenge, Part 1, January 8, 2011

As I said in my last blog post, I had injured my left knee in the NCR Trail Marathon in November, so I was going into Goofy with a 6 week taper and no real running to speak of.  Only a couple of 3 or 4 milers.  I was woefully undertrained. So my plan was to take the Goofy Challenge slow and easy. My only goal in the WDW Goofy Challenge was simply to finish uninjured so I could re-start my training the right way.
Before the half marathon, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Jennifer, Maddy, Marathon Chris and a couple of other runners on twitter.  John was also to meet us. His bus was an hour or so late, as it was stuck in bad traffic getting to the start area.  Although everyone else took off early to go to the corrals, Steve and I stuck around and waited for John, which allowed us to hang around longer in the family meeting area and chat with Maddy.  Maddy had made a sign and was planning on cheering runners in the half marathon since she was not running it.  She was only running the full this year.  John showed up, running towards us in his fabulous outfit: blue long-haired wig, pink tutu, tiara and magic wand.   He looked too cool!!

John, Steve and I walked to the corrals and parted ways with John while he went over to corral A and we went to corral G.

I ran the half with Steve at his pace, which was extremely relaxed and leisurely for me.

We narrowly missed getting picked up by the sweeper bus at mile 8.  That would have ruined the whole Goofy challenge for me.  Steve was running/walking at a slow pace because HE was woefully undertrained too and we stopped for A LOT of photos with characters in the first half of the race. Apparently that caused us to fall pretty far behind.  But I kept looking at my watch and I kept an eye on the time.  I figured we would finish around 3:30.  The race had a 4 hour time limit, so I never thought we would be in danger of getting picked up by the sweeper bus.

At one point, these two women ran past us while we were taking a walking break and they were each carrying a Disney princess balloon.  When they passed us, one of the balloons hit me in the head and I remember thinking to myself, “WTF lady!!! What’s with the balloon???”

The balloon ladies never got too far ahead of us and I still didn’t realize that they were the pacers for the sweeper bus — meaning that if you were in front of them by the time you get to mile 8 you can finish the race, but if you were behind them, you would get pulled out of the race and picked up by the sweeper bus.  As we were approaching mile 8 we heard a Team in Training coach shouting something out to that effect.  Then we saw some race volunteers on bikes with orange flags say we had 20-30 seconds to get past the ballon ladies and cross mile 8.  Steve and I heard that, looked at each other and said “Oh shit”.  Immediately, we hauled ass and sprinted past the balloon ladies and crossed the line at mile 8.  We just barely made it.

After that close call, we picked up our pace a lot and finished in 3:28. The race was a lot of fun, and since I took it so slow, my legs did not feel taxed at all.  Still I stayed off my feet for the rest of the day, iced both knees and wore my Saucony recovery pants in preparation for the marathon the next day.


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