It was cold. Unseasonably cold. Lined up at 4 am, and didn’t cross the start line till 6:30, so everything was stiff. And I hadn’t been running enough lately – ever since the Halloween Half, I had been sort of resting on the knowledge that I could do it. I thought my feet had adjusted to my new running shoes, that the orthotics were going to be great… but at mile 9, this burning, tearing sort of pain started in my feet, especially my right foot. The orthotic was hitting in the wrong point of the arch of my foot, and it was bad.

My first thought was, “Okay, how do I manage this?” No panic yet. In training, sometimes I would have a bad foot pain day, and I would mostly just slow down and walk home. I can’t risk a longer term injury – and I am in fact, a chicken – so I tend to baby things a bit. After about another half mile of this, though, each time I rolled a complete heel-toe step, with power coming off the big toe, the pain was intense. Was this a ‘tough it out’ kind of pain, or was I going to take myself out of the race if I did?

Cue minor panic: If I failed this race, then the whole reason I first decided to start running (redeeming myself) would go down the shitter. AND! I would be out of contention for the Kessel Run medal in April. Shame! Fear! Wasted time and energy! Who was I kidding, that I could be a runner?!?!?!!

I quashed that as quick as I could (I get more emotional and a little dumber on really long runs), and pulled over to the curb at Mile 10. I pulled off my shoe on the right foot, pulled out the orthotic, and put the shoe back on. I hoped that hobbling along without the orthotic irritating the plantar fascia would allow me to step it up after a while. I relied on my marching band training to walk while rolling along the outside edge of my foot. After about half a mile, it seemed like things were better, so I pulled over to put the orthotic back in.

It was… questionable. But I was damned if I was going to fail this twice. There were still plenty of people behind me. So I gritted my teeth, cranked up the music, and went to my numb mental space where I could just keep stepping. Every so often I’d get a step wrong, and I’d yell “OW!” and keep going. Just keep going. Just keep going.

Eventually, I saw the 13 mile marker. There’s something about that last 0.1 mile that seems never to end, but I was determined to jog to the end. And I did.

It wasn’t a PR. Hell, it wasn’t even on pace to be a PR before I got hurt. But I’m okay with that, as the runDisney races are as much about the experience as it is the time. I wanted to see the photo ops, and the decor, and all the cool stuff Disney does. And I did redeem myself. I did it. It’s not scary anymore.