Allow me to begin by apologizing. I left you all hanging after posting my brother's account of being swept and the somewhat controversial things we found out from that experience. It has generated some great conversation and I loved everyone's input on the matter. Shortly after posting however, I left for Phoenix on business and didn't answer all of your comments which I traditionally do. The issue has been corrected.
After all the feedback, I think I can say two things: 1) A race, and the medal you might or might not get, means different things to different people. It's great that we all have very defined positions on what we would do, but we have to be ready for the inevitable fact that not everybody thinks the same way. We don't have to agree but at least we have to understand that we won't agree on everything. 2) Having said that, the whole "sign up and run knowing you are not gonna finish" debacle really rubs "traditional" runners the wrong way and I include myself in that group. It's kind of hard to swallow but again, it goes back to what it means to us. But, to each their own I guess. See thing #1.
So, concluding that and after some hard work and great sushi in Phoenix...
My wife was telling me about how fast time flies. Here we are, on the other side of the Goofy Challenge with 3 more medals hanging on my lonely nail on the wall (I should do something about that). It seems like yesterday when I decided to do this and the Challenge was literally a year away. Now it's done.
So what do I take from this? Aside from three beautiful medals of course:
The Freaking Cut-Off Point
I hope all my fellow back-of-the-packers that read this are paying attention. You CAN make it to Disney's Hollywood Studios and be swept afterwards. Yes, there are no more "public" roads once you enter the park but you do have to pass through the main entrance to enter the path towards The Yacht and Beach Clubs and right before that path is the DHS parking lot. Cars park there. So do buses. Like the ones that pick people up. Disney is not only looking to open back the roads, they also want the parks to run normally. By the time we make it to DHS and Epcot, the parks are open with restricted traffic where we are running. Disney wants to end that as quickly as possible so any stray people running behind the Balloon Ladies get picked up in the Hollywood Studio's parking lot. Period.
Let's put it this way: If you make it to the Yacht Club, THEN you are truly safe. Hope this helps.
Running is not a contact sport...
Yet somehow, I ended up really beat up from this. The soreness is expected. In fact, I recovered much faster this time around compared to my first marathon. I'm talking about actual bruising. Here's the tally: I have a cut right under my chest plate from the heart rate monitor. That had never happened before with my current HRM but apparently if you wear it long enough... felt really nice when I took it off and took a shower too. It also cut me right under my right arm. Also there was the knee of course, which I could not bend the day after the marathon. I ended up with a nasty bruise in the back of the knee because of the brace I wore (it was the first time wearing it) and I'm pretty sure I broke something in my foot. I'm not sure what but most of my limping after the race was due to my foot hurting, not the knee. Since it's the right foot (same as the knee) I'm pretty sure I did something to it trying to protect the knee during the Challenge. The pain is mostly gone now, though I still feel it a little.
Where I'm At
Running a marathon or a challenge like this one, tends to put runners in one of two frames of mind: Those who want to do it again or at least who would consider doing it again, and those who are content with that one time and they are done. They keep running but are perfectly happy running 5K's or Half Marathons or whatever distance they feel comfortable. There really is no wrong answer. Running a marathon does not a runner make. Much less a challenge like Goofy.
For me, there was not much thinking needed but I was kind of surprised with my conclusion. Amidst all the pain and soreness, I knew I would want to do it again. Another marathon for sure and most probably another challenge.
I was under-trained and I was injured. That made the whole thing a bit unpleasant and emotionally draining but I pulled it off. Many people would understandably think: "I never want to go through that again." Totally logical train of thought. But my brain is not wired like that. My train of thought was: "Imagine how much better I can do the next time." Yes, it's hard. Yes, I was in pain, but I also had a great time. I can have an even greater time under better conditions.
In fact, having done the Goofy Challenge, I can now totally understand the appeal of the Dopey Challenge. It is totally doable and not as insane as I thought it was. Now, I'm not saying that I'm doing the Dopey Challenge, but I'm also not saying that I wouldn't do it either. We will see... I'm suddenly reminded of women in labor. Not that running a marathon compares to that. Not even close. But I've been often told that for all the agony women go through when delivering a baby, it seems they forget about it or subconsciously decide not to think about it. After all, most women decide to go through with it a second time and sometimes even more than that.
Maybe runners are like that. We block out the agony and only choose to remember the good parts.