As I’ve mentioned over and over, (and over and over, again), I’m running the DisneyLand Half-Marathon at the end of August. I ran the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge last January, and I decided this was my year to complete the Coast-to-Coast Challenge. I’m looking forward to it with some trepidation. As is usual for my races, I’m pouring over all available information and soaking up any information I can about the race and course, in particular ChatterRunGirl’s race report of last year’s Disneyland half marathon!
This will be my first race since the Mississauga Half-Marathon. That’s a very long time between races for me, but I was trying to stay disciplined about training. I plan to treat this as a strictly fun race, with no goal time in mind. And I plan to take lots of pictures!
There was a post on RunDisney’s facebook about wanting to hear the story from runner’s and their journey to the DisneyLand half Marathon Weekend. I had quite a journey to get here.
They chose not to publish my entry because there were other stories. I totally understand that RunDisney would chose to highlight runners that went through significant financial, personal, emotional or other obstacles to get to the DisneyLand Half Marathon Race weekend. But, since they won’t publish it, it gives me a great opportunity to publish it on my own blog!
It’s a nice summary of my running journey, and could be a fairly accurate “About Me” piece.
My name is Paul Radcliffe, I’m a 29 year-old runner from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, near and I often talk about running on my blog: paulradcliffe.ca. I saw a posting on RunDisney’s facebook page about overcoming obstacles to get to the DisneyLand half. Although I suspect some people had enormous emotional, physical, and/or financial obstacles to overcome to get to the DisneyLand Half-Marathon, I still felt compelled to share my story.
Like many runners, I am an “adult-onset” athlete. I was not really involved in sports or fitness as a child or in University. It showed! Finishing school I was badly out of shape, overweight, and generally unhealthy. My life changed when I joined some co-workers to climb the CN Tower (a Toronto landmark) as a fundraiser. I struggled so badly that I realized I something had to change if I wanted to survive.
After that, I started eating better, going to the gym, and running. I was very proud of myself when I ran my first half-marathon, and have run many half and full-marathons since then, including multiple Goofy Challenges at Walt Disney World. I’ve even occasionally been a clinic instructor at my local Running Room. I’m certainly not very fit yet, but I’m working on it.
I like running. It’s liberating. There’s no fancy equipment or mechanical advantage you can buy, it’s just you and your legs. I feel like running lets you reclaim your body, neighbourhood, and control. And I like the recreational running community. I find team sports a bit too antagonistic for my taste. The recreational runners I know are absolutely respectful and supportive. Doesn’t matter how good or bad you are; you’re one of us!
I feel like running has made me a better person. It’s brought more structure and order to my life, but also given me freedom. I’ve made many friends through running, and most of us share the same joy of running.
However, I encountered an obstacle in the spring of 2013. I developed a painful and debilitating tingling in feet when running. My doctor simply told me to stop running. That hurt. That hurt almost more than the injury. It was like losing a part of my identity. But, I was worried running was killing me, so I complied and missed many races and many months of training. I gained weight, and I lost confidence in myself.
I subjected myself to a battery of tests and saw a lot of doctors. Eventually, a chiropractor suggested I might have a form of posterior tibial impingement. Supposedly, my calves were swelling when I ran cutting off the blood supply to my legs and putting pressure on my nerves.
It took months and months, but I was able to change my running form, and the way I trained so that I could run again. I became much more diligent about stretching, foam rolling and other post-run care activities. My feet still tingle now and then, but that’s just the reminder I need to take care of myself better when I slack off.
I’m glad to be back. I completed my 3rd Goofy Challenge in January this year (I actually did the whole Dopey). I’m looking forward to a new experience and continuing to enjoy running as I run the DisneyLand half-marathon soon.