Years ago when I started running, I would have NEVER imagined that I would think of a half marathon as a short, easy distance. But something has happened to my brain. All the miles have given me, dare I say, confidence. Whoa. That’s something! Especially for me, a noncompetitive runner who dislikes pain and heat, which I think may be unavoidable with this sport.
Anyhow, today’s race was proof that my brain is a different brain than the one I had when I first started running. The Donald Duck Half Marathon (today’s race) is the first part of the Goofy Challenge, the second part being Mickey’s Marathon (tomorrow’s race), for a total of 39.3 miles in two days. Runner friend Rosa is here with me, making this challenge extra special. We’ve been training for this weekend since July, but an injury sidelined Rosa for several weeks starting in late November. Such a bummer! But she was able to build back to 8 miles before this weekend and felt confident that she could at least do the half marathon, if we went at a slower pace and took two walk breaks. So this was our plan heading to the start at 4:45 a.m.
But the walk to the start was so very crowded that it took us about 60 minutes. And the start was only one mile away. One by one, the corrals ahead of us were being released—and we were stuck. We got to the corrals and saw ours—corral C—and hopped in at the front just as the people started walking forward through corrals B, A, and Elite to the starting line. It was so stressful! But we were happy to have jumped in at the front of our corral.
Sadly, we were not in our corral. As the announcer started our group, he said something about corral D being Donald Duck’s favorite . . . we were at the front of corral D, not C. oops! We figured it didn’t really matter, because this was all for fun, not for time, which meant we still hoped to be running 10 minute pace. It only took about a tenth of a mile to discover that would be unlikely. We were dodging walkers and gawkers and groups of friends taking up the whole lane. It was difficult to even run a regular stride!
So we did what we could and enjoyed the course, taking lots of pictures and chatting. Rosa did great! We purposely walked miles 4 and 8 (and part of an uphill ramp)—I think that’s stellar, a full 3 miles more than she’s run recently. The weather was better than I feared, and we finished in 2:40-something.
With race 1 behind us, we are resting up and seeing what race 2 brings! Rosa will decide tomorrow if she will do a walk/run to try to earn her Goofy medal. I will attempt to run the whole race, my very first official marathon. I’m trusting my newly acquired runner’s brain will hold out and be strong, just like the message on this race banner touts.