Misadventures with wine, weights, and running shoes.

Cindy's Lessons from Mickey

Saturday, January 10, 2015

When this goes out, I will be in the “Happiest Place on Earth” in the land of the giant mouse, Disney World. I will be embarking on my fifth Disney Marathon as part of the 10th Anniversary Goofy - Race and a Half Challenge January 10-11, 2015. The course has changed once in that time, but the hype and fanfare that accompanies this race does not disappoint. It is on many runner’s race bucket list for a reason.  It wasn’t mine on mine but it was my first marathon when I lived in Tampa and running around Disney has taught me many things over my five year marathon career.

Disney Marathon 2011

My very first marathon occurred after months of prodding and encouragement from my Best Friend to have me run a marathon with her. I signed up on a runner’s high the day after a successful half marathon in November, leaving me with roughly six weeks to train for a marathon. I do not recommend that to anyone but it’s what I did. I taught fitness and just ran a half, so was “half” trained and absolutely petrified.  Yet when I crossed that finish line in 4:58, my entire life’s perspective changed.  


Disney Marathon 2012-The Goofy
With more time and a plan to train, we set out for crazy town and decided that two races is better than one and signed up for Goofy Race and a Half Challenge.  We cross trained and had a longer running plan. We had a bold goal: Sub 4 marathon for me AFTER a half marathon.  I seriously was questioning my Best Friend,  Hope’s, sanity.  We had our share of encouragement and also those that said I was “not a good enough runner” to drop that amount of time off of my marathon.  The words I will never forget occurred around mile 17 when we caught up to the 4 hour pacer team.  What the nay Sayers didn’t understand was the one thing that can make the difference; you run with your HEART.

I completed my Goofy Challenge with a 3:57 marathon, a 1 hour PR.  

Lesson Two: Ability takes you but so far. It is your WILL and HEART that will see you the rest of the way through.

Disney Marathon 2013 20th Anniversary Marathon

For lots of reasons, logistical and personal, I will say that this year’s training sucked.  Since my BFF was training for other events, I did only minimal training with her and was left to do many solo runs. I spent a lot of time in a very bad headspace and only eked out two 16 mile runs before the race.  Being a very hot marathon (heat advisory) only added to the misery of that day.  On one positive note, I got to interact with a few runners that had done all 20 Mickey marathons and received tons of advice from the veteran runners.  This was also the first marathon race I ran solo (my training partner paced another friend) and prayed for death many times while fighting back the demons telling me to quit.  I did prevail and ran it in 4:28.

Lesson Three: Running is mental and can make or break your training and your race.

Disney Marathon 2014: The Dopey Challenge

I moved away from Tampa the summer before this race as a part of the transitory life of a military family.  Once again, my best friend and I went to crazy town and signed up for the Inaugural Dopey Challenge:  four races in four days (5k, 10K, ½ Marathon, Marathon) for a total of 48.6 miles for charity as part of Team Autism Speaks.  Our initial goal was to run the first three as a training run and race the marathon, a very bold move indeed.

We added a fall marathon to our training schedule and trained together but separated by 1000+ miles.  I joined the Annapolis Striders group to help with running and created friendships that are priceless. Their support was overwhelming and donated nearly half of my needed funds to run these races. 
Training was difficult and heartbreaking initially but I learned a lot about myself over 6 months. I learned to train and put the miles on my feet on my own as well as improved my nutrition.  I gained the confidence that I never knew I had.  

When the time came, we ran those races, and nearly pulled out an epic Boston Qualifying PR time of 3:45:59 missing the cut off by less than a minute.  

Lesson Four:  Don’t be afraid to dream BIG and reach for what may seem impossible.  You just may surprise yourself.

So as I am fighting back from injury and a challenging fall race season, I am unsure what lesson Mickey and his marathon will teach me this year.  With each new experience, one gains wisdom and perspective.  I will be sure to share my new lesson in my Goofy race recap very shortly.  Until then, I hope for swift feet, a clear mind, and a strong heart.


4 comments on "Cindy's Lessons from Mickey"
  1. So proud of you! Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings for you!

    1. Thank you so much!! Ran happy and had an amazing experience and will be sharing it soon!!

  2. Running is so mental. Love that quote! Hope you have an amazing time today.
    Confessions of a Mother Runner

    1. It really is! It was an amazing experience today and very memorable! Thanks so much!!