Sunday, April 23, 2017

Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend - Prologue

It all started on a dark and stormy night ... 

Wait, wrong story ...

It actually started during the RADP XX (a longtime usenet group get together ... rec.arts.disney.parks) weekend. On a Sunday evening - December 6, 2015 to be precise. Fellow RADPer Jenny Drake and I were at Disney's Hollywood Studios watching the Osborne Lights for the last time when she mentioned that she would walk a 5K with me if I could train and accomplish it. Of course, my mind came up with all sorts of excuses that night - and for months to come. Plantar Fasciitis in my feet (true), asthma and reduced lung capacity (true), a heart issue (true, but not a problem issue), diabetes (true) all were among my excuses. Not that I didn't want to do it ... I definitely did. But 9 years previously my daughter and I decided we would try a 5K. I started conditioning and tried to do too much too soon and got discouraged and gave up. I still had that experience in my head.

Jump ahead to October, 2016 and I find myself back in Florida and maybe I was bored or something, and I decided to see what I could do. I knew one thing ... I was way out of shape! I couldn't walk very far without needing to rest - nor could I walk in anything but a speed that could only be described as S-L-O-W! Yes, I had been known to walk a lot in WDW, but there had been many many rest stops, and way too often over the past number of years I was in an ECV! I went out walking at a comfortable pace over the next few days and found that each day it got easier and soon I had actually walked a full half mile from my house - which meant I had to walk the same distance back ... a full mile!! Could I really do this? Had the seed that Jenny planted actually taken root?

Before long I was walking 2 miles a day! Still way too slow to attempt a 5K ... but now I thought that by November, 2017 - the Wine and Dine race weekend at WDW - it might be possible! Then one day it happened ... I saw an article that talked about the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend at WDW in April. Well, that was more than 6 months away and would give me an incentive to get serious. In a moment in which I lost all my senses and self-control ... I registered for the 5K on April 21, 2017! I was now committed - or perhaps I should have been!

I continued along the path - with encouragement and advice from Jenny and other runners I know - through being back in NY and then a return to Florida just before RADP XXI. I was staying at the Yacht Club, so who needed transportation to and from EPCOT or Disney's Hollywood Studios? I walked! Who was I becoming????

Things improved and the distance came within my abilities, but I still needed to up my pace which was pathetically slow for something like this. But - as February was close to an end, I noticed a steady improvement. 

Then it happened!!! Things started to fall apart. A persistent and sometimes severe pain in my hip lead me into physical therapy during which I found out that my pelvis was out of alignment. Some exercises, some stretching and some massage corrected that and I now knew what to do to prevent it from happening again - or what to do if it did. I thought I was out of the woods. Nope! Remember the plantar fasciitis I spoke of earlier? One evening before I got into bed, I started to feel a familiar sensation and I was not happy. The next morning, my worst fears were confirmed! The pain was so bad that the thought of going from my bed to the bathroom which is only about 3 or 4 steps away was so bad that I waited until hydraulic pressure gave me no option. It was a full blown case of PF as bad as I had ever had it. The last time it was this bad it took 6 months until I was able to walk without severe pain. Not conducive to what I had to do at all! I had a physical therapy session planned for 2 days hence, and found a local podiatrist and was able to make an appointment directly after that session. (I have a wonderful long time podiatrist who treats this for me ... IN NEW YORK!!) Sparing you all the details, I had to shut down any training I was doing for (as it turned out) almost a full month!!

When I was finally able to get back onto the pavement, there was just a bit more than 2 weeks left until the day of the actual 5K. The first two days back running/walking were just a disaster ... much of the work I had done was negated. (Happily, only a small portion of the nearly 40 pounds I had lost since October had reappeared, and they came back off quickly enough.) I knew I had to push, but could I push enough to pull it off to my satisfaction? Then, by the fourth day back, I started to notice speed increases coming day by day. In a few days I was doing the 3.1 miles each day at speeds faster than the previous day. (Just so you don't get the impression that I was going fast, I wasn't! I still had a long way to go to be at the goal I had set for myself. I never actually got there.)

But in the last 2 days of conditioning before I left for WDW, I did reach a point where I knew I could finish the 5K and hopefully not be the last one across the finish line.

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017 - I checked in to All Star Sports. Wanna talk about nerves?