I suppose I need to finish my account on the Goofy experience before I forget what happened (okay, I guess it was rather unforgettable). I started getting nervous a week prior to the event. I just didn’t feel confident that I had trained hard enough. However, I tried to reflect on the idea that it is actually better to undertrain than it is to overtrain. Last year I made the mistake of overdoing it. Remember that marathon 3 weeks before the actual marathon I was training for? Yes, that was a really bad idea for my first marathon experience.
I figured that if I could run 23 miles during my training without too much difficulty, then I should be okay. I just wasn’t sure about running the marathon the day after running a half marathon. I tend to push myself during these races and I am almost always left with some form of residual pain that tends to intensify the day after a race. I just kept telling myself that my only goal was to finish the Goofy Challenge. Yet, I knew that I was lying to myself. I am too competitive to just tell myself that all I want to do is finish a race. Finish times are always flashing through my mind and I can’t help but focus on achieving personal records.
I was picky about what I ate during the week leading up to the race. I passed on spicy foods (and I love spicy food!), skipped the broccoli, limited processed foods (basically cut back on the junk) and ensured that I was consuming plenty of lean protein and quality carbs. I really should eat like that normally. I even kept my alcohol intake to a bare minimum. No glass of wine or bottle of beer even 2 days before the event. I tried not to overdo it during that week in regards to my physical activities. I felt like I finally had time to just relax and not stress about getting my runs in or hitting up the gym. Even when I took my weekly BodyPump class I limited myself to half squats and I didn’t care what anyone thought.
It is funny, though, when a runner is preparing to run a race. All of sudden every part of your body is hurting. You notice every little bit of soreness and become paranoid that you will be unable to participate in the race. I kept thinking that my knee wasn’t feeling right (and I have never had any knee issues) or that my sciatic nerve was acting up (I do have that issue). I just kept telling myself that everything would be alright. I even stretched more often than I normally do. I continued to hope that my body would be in prime condition for this event. There was nothing more I could really do about it.
Two nights before the race I went to Olive Garden and enjoyed a healthy spaghetti dish. Then the next day I had leftovers for lunch. By that point, I was already sick of spaghetti. When I stopped at Chick-Fil-A during my drive to Orlando I refrained from eating waffle fries and instead opted for the yogurt parfait. That evening (the night before the half marathon) my friends asked me to go to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. That sounded like a crazy idea, but I didn’t really want to eat alone. Normally, when I go to Outback I eat steak… that just makes sense right? However, I have learned from experience that eating steak before a long run is not a good idea. So, I ate chicken and rice for dinner with water… lots of water. No Bloomin’ Onion for our group.
After dinner I went back to my hotel and prepared for the morning. I kept checking the weather on the internet like I was expecting the forecast to change from one hour to the next. I could not decide if I wanted to wear running capris or running shorts, a long sleeve shirt or a tank top. I would refer back to the internet for the same weather information hoping that it would magically tell me what to wear. I finally made my decision to stick with the warmer clothing options since I figured that the sun wouldn’t even be up by the time I finished the half marathon in the morning. Yes, we were starting at 5:30 am which meant I had to be awake at 3:00 am. The clock was ticking and I needed to get to bed, but I wasn’t finished yet. I had to decide whether or not I wanted to check a bag and whether or not I should wear my fuel belt. I am not quite sure why these decisions seem so difficult the night before a race when they come so easily the night before a training run.
I managed to figure it all out somehow and crawl into bed around 10:00 pm. That didn’t leave much time for sleep, but all of the adrenaline pumping through my system wasn’t helping anyway. As I turned off the light and closed my eyes, I heard the people in the next room return. To make a long story short, the family consisted of at least 3 kids that enjoyed screaming and 2 very frustrated parents who reciprocated with yelling. I might have managed to fall asleep around midnight. Somehow I woke up to my alarm just a few hours later.
As I prepared my whole grain waffles slathered in peanut butter, I realized that I was sick of whole grain waffles slathered in peanut butter. I eat the same thing before every run because I am scared of trying something different. You see, stomach issues during running are my biggest concern. It is no fun when you have an “emergency” while out on a run. I have had some pretty close calls. I knew that I definitely could not change my ways until after this race was over. So, I scarfed down the waffles and headed out the door.
I had to walk to the next hotel in order to catch the shuttle to Epcot (the start of the race). As I came to the front of the hotel, a group of people were discussing where the shuttle was supposed to do the pick-up. It appeared that everyone had been told something different from the hotel staff. So, we all stood there wondering whether or not the shuttle would actually come pick us up. Fortunately, it didn’t take long before we spotted the shuttle coming our way. That was a huge relief. I couldn’t imagine missing the race because I wasn’t able to get there on time!
Stay tuned for what happens next during Part 3.