The Longyness of the Lone Distance Runner

There’s something inherently insane about getting up at 2:00 AM to go do anything.  Doing it to go stand in a parking lot for two hours so you can run for another hour and a half is a special kind of crazy.  And I wasn’t even one of the people who were doing this four days in a row.

This is the madness that is the Walt Disney Marathon Weekend, where some people run a 5k, a 10k, a half-marathon and a full marathon, all on consecutive days.  It’s with no small amount of irony that Disney calls this the Dopey Challenge; those doing just the half and the full are only the Goofy Challenge.

I never had any intention of doing all four.  In fact, I hadn’t really planned on doing any of them.  Jillian and I are going to be heading to Disneyland for the Star Wars Half-Marathon Weekend this week, and I didn’t feel the need to do any kind of race before doing my own challenge (a 10k and a half).  But Jillian wanted to do the half-marathon, so I decided to do the 10k.  Seemed like a manageable distance, and I’d be hanging out with Jillian on top of it, so win-win.

Except Jillian got hurt and had to defer her half, and wasn’t coming down.  So I got to do this all by myself.  Which isn’t that big a deal; I’ve done plenty of races solo.  It just sucked missing out on a chance to see her.

Anyway, 2:00 AM on Friday rolled around and there I was eating breakfast.  I’d actually set my alarm for 3:00, but of course I woke up early and figured the extra hour wasn’t worth the chance of oversleeping.  It’s definitely weird eating Cheerios at that time of the night, but people who pay what we pay to do Disney races are weird anyway.

And of course, it was raining.  It cleared up a bit when I got to Epcot and parked, but I kept my mouth shut, lest I jinx it.  It didn’t matter though; the rain came back as a steady drizzle that was with us all the way through at least Mile 4.  It’s not easy dragging yourself along six miles at six in the morning.  It’s even harder when yourself is weighed down by accumulated rain soaking into your clothes.

But I finished in a pretty decent time for me considering the rain had everything slowed down.  And I didn’t feel all that terrible afterward or most of that day.  I even wandered around Hollywood Studios for a bit, until the rain came back and decided to stay and I figured it was the sky trying to tell me something.

As for the run itself, it’s funny.  Lots of people were posting pictures they took, either at the mile markers or with the Disney characters along the route.  Me, I just put my head down and did the distance.  Maybe I’m missing out on the experience, but living right next door to Disney, I don’t need to wait thirty minutes in the middle of a 10k to get my picture taken with Mickey Mouse.  More power to the people who are willing to do that, but I’d rather just get the damn race out of the way so I can get my banana at the end.



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