Six months ago, I turned 40. The approach to this milestone birthday does weird stuff to the brain. Things that seem plain awful get spun about in there and begin to sound feasible. Doable. Enjoyable, even.
I mean, who hears about running 39.3 miles in two days and thinks it’s a good idea?
That’s what Walt Disney World’s Goofy Challenge is all about. You run Donald’s half marathon Saturday morning, then run Mickey’s marathon Sunday morning. Added together, you get Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge.
A perfect way to celebrate 40 years, yes?!?
Parties aren’t any fun alone, so dear runner-friend Rosa agreed to join me. We registered for Goofy in January 2012 and started working through our strategy—what sort of snacks we would pack, the photo opportunities we would stop for, the amount of walking we would do, and so on.
By November, we had worked up to 20 miles on our respective long-run days, and we were feeling good.
Then, boom—poor Rosa got some severe tendonitis and was issued a therapy boot, halting her training. I kept on, completing a 23-miler in 3:27 and a 26.2-miler in 4:02, all the while telling myself that Rosa would snap back and we’d be running Goofy as planned.
Now, just two and a half weeks out, we’re working on a Plan B.
Rosa is running again, but she’s not back to long distances yet. We may be able to do the half marathon together as a casual walk/run experience, but it’s looking like I’ll tackle the marathon on my own. Well, not really alone—there will be 20,000 other people out there, including Hobbit Samwise Gamgee. How I would LOVE to have a race photo with him in the frame. I will have to distract myself from the endless running by looking for him along the way.
Despite the change in plans, I am so glad I gave this crazy Goofy race a go. The training was intense and took a lot of time, energy, and discipline. Even if my marathon is a bust, I am so happy with those two long training runs—I know what I’ve done even if the distances and times are not official. It’s such a confidence booster!
Also, Rosa’s injury and the waiting that followed pushed me to rest in the Lord. We still aren’t sure what race weekend will be like—we have to wait and see. As much as we try to plan and arrange for our fun and blessing and achievement, life is still mystery. God’s hand is writing a magical tale that would be robbed of its beauty if we insisted upon controlling the subplots He chooses.
As far as I know, I will be attempting 39.3 miles of Goofy madness. I can’t wait to see what God has in store—the memories I will make, the people I will encounter, the highs and lows I will face.
Doesn’t that make 39.3 miles of running sound fantastic?!