Monday, January 11, 2010
The Goofy Experience - A Look Back!
I've done some very difficult things during our years with the TEAM 413 ministry. I ran a trail run in Richmond, Virginia that I've written about before that was "off the hook!" Back in the fall of 2003, I ran 5 marathons over the course of 6 weekends. And, I'm sure there are some other things that should be included in that list. However, the 2010 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend "Goofy Challenge" -- as a whole -- may have been the most difficult thing that I've ever done physically. Kiki and I arrived in Orlando at about 7:00 PM last Wednesday. We got settled in at our hotel and then got up on Thursday morning to work the WDW Expo. Our set-up for the expo booth went well and then the show opened at 11:30 AM and went until 8:00 PM. On Friday, we worked the booth from about 8:00 - 8:00. Not much rest was in sight for me to get ready for the first adventure of the Goofy Challenge on Saturday morning. The alarm sounded at 3:00 AM! I'm not sure the alarm knew what to do --- 3:00 AM! If the clock could have spoken, it would have asked me, "Did you crazy folks mean to set me for a different time?" Nevertheless, we got up -- got dressed -- caught a Disney bus -- walked to the start area -- ate a little light breakfast -- and then we started the half marathon. Oh, and although we were in sunny Florida, it was in the low 30's with a windchill in the 20's. Oh, and it was sleeting which eventually turned into freezing rain and then to just cold rain! Those things don't really go together during a race -- windy, cold, wet! I finally just ran through a puddle of water like a little kid just to get it over with! I'd been dodging them too long. But, the half went pretty well -- just as planned -- run slow and finish. Day 3 of the expo followed the half marathon and lasted from about 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Kiki and I loaded up the TEAM 413 supplies and gear that we had left, got some dinner, and then went back to our room to rest. Again, the alarm clock went off at 3:00 AM on Sunday morning! We got up -- got dressed -- caught a Disney bus -- walked to the start area -- ate a little light breakfast -- WAIT, didn't we just do that? The full marathon started with fanfare like only Disney can do and we were off runnin' again. I forgot, it was colder than the day before! It was in the mid 20's with a windchill below 10! However, there was NO rain, sleet, or snow! The wind decided to stick around. It was COLD! I dressed for it and I was still cold! Kiki, God bless her, was on the course cheering for me and other TEAM 413 runners. I know she was colder than all of us -- she was a trooper as always. I noticed things that proved to me that it was cold. On the side of one road we saw a small canal which was partially frozen. At water stations, our water had ice in it that the volunteers DID NOT add. The PowerAde was in slushy form. There was also "black ice" all over the road at each of the water stations because as soon as someone would spill or throw a cup away with water in it, instant icy slick spot! I saw people slipping and sliding. I almost fell when I slipped at one point but used my "elite" athletic ability to recover. The volunteers at those stations were more than troopers -- they were saints! They could have gone home, but they stayed. All of them were awesome! We clicked off the miles and I was doing well until about mile 18 when I realized that I had completed over 30 miles in just about 24 hours! I was cold and tired and my legs hurt! However, somehow, through God's grace I was able to finish the Goofy Challenge. God allowed me to finish to glorify Him -- to use me to talk to some people during the race who were really struggling in the race and in life -- to show me, once again, that we really can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. I had a wonderful time during the event, got all my medals, and the personal fulfilment value of knowing that I finished. I had completed something far above my expectations, far above where I thought my limits were physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It was God's way of teaching me some valuable lessons which I'll be writing about in the days to come. For now, I'd like to thank Kiki, my wife - partner - best friend, for supporting me through this adventure. She braved the cold for all the people on the course. I'd like to thank all of the people who wore their TEAM 413 shirts and shared their faith through words and actions out on those frigid days in Orlando. I'd also like to thank Sara Roberts for being out on the course at about mile 25 when I really needed a little inspiration on Sunday -- for yelling at me and telling me, "You got this thing!" Lastly, I would like to acknowledge Paul Dillmuth. Paul is one of our TEAM 413 Ambassadors from Virginia. We met him at Disney in 2008. He has become a friend and supporter of TEAM 413 and for me personally. He made our Disney experience a reality through a financial contribution that paid for our expo booth. He stepped up to the cause and made it happen. I will be forever grateful to Paul for helping us kick-off 2010 in such a positive way. I'll be sharing some of the stories of faith and hope that we heard during our Disney trip in GRACERUNNER JOURNAL soon --- stay tuned... Under HIS Grace... Chris