I definitely underestimated the difficulty of the Goofy Challenge. I figured that if I trained for a marathon, the half marathon on Saturday would be easy and wouldn’t affect the full on Sunday. I was wrong- by Sunday morning, my legs were already feeling stiff and by the time I hit mile 15 of the marathon my quads were screaming.
Despite the fact that the challenge was hard, I actually really enjoyed myself. I was never running alone but I also wasn’t running in a huge crowd (I think this was because I was in Corral A, I heard it was much more packed for the other corrals). There was a lot of entertainment on the course and a water station, first aid tent, and porta potties at least every 2 miles.
I also learned a lot about myself over the two days:
- I really like the half marathon distance. I hadn’t run a half since 2010 and I really enjoyed it.
- I need to have something to eat within 30 minutes of starting a race. Preferably a Clifshot with caffeine. The Clif bar I had before the marathon did nothing for me.
- I tend to underestimate my abilities as a runner. Both days I lined up in the second half of Corral A only to weave around a lot of runners for the first few miles.
- I need to work on fueling during races. What worked for training runs did not work once I got hot and dizzy.
- I am not a warm weather runner. Even 70 degrees really affects my pace and how I feel.
- Using a porta potty during a race is not scary or super time consuming. I think it took me about 20 seconds TOPS.
- I am smart about listening to my body during races. When I started to feel chills and dizzy I slowed down and walked most of a mile. If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have been able to run the last 5 miles of the race.
- I’ve grown a lot as a runner. In 2011 when I ran Chicago and it was warmer than usual, I remember wanting to walk off the course because I felt so miserable. During the Goofy Challenge, I wanted to finish and I wanted to enjoy the experience.
- I can run through pain. I felt a blister form on my toe around mile 8 of the marathon and then pop and I also badly bruised my big toe/toenail somewhere near mile 20. However, I was able to finish the race without stopping at a first aid tent.
With my legs hurting and the warm weather I was definitely not running in ideal conditions but I managed to slow down when necessary, fuel properly (well… kinda), and hydrate so that I could finish the race with a smile on my face and I’m proud of myself for handling the challenge well .
I was also incredibly impressed with how fast my legs healed. I was definitely more stiff and sore than I am after a marathon but within four days, my legs felt ready for a shakeout run. Unfortunately, my toe really bothered me all week so I ended up taking five days off and then lightly cross-training Saturday and Sunday. With Boston training starting this week, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Many people have asked me if I would run the challenge again and to be honest, I’m not sure. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t run it alone again. I’m glad I ran it and I proved that I could do it but if I’m going to do another high mileage “challenge” I’d much rather it be an ultra. However, I can’t say I’d turn down a friend if she or he wanted to run Goofy in a few years for fun. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to run it with a friend and stop for character pics.
Do you want to do the Goofy Challenge? What have you learned about yourself as a runner?