My dad’s passing in 2016 sent me into a tailspin for about six months just emotionally eating anything and everything that I wanted for a solid six months. When 2017 appeared, I decided I needed something to get me out of the funk and really honor my dad and what he wished for me. I jumped on the treadmill and I decided to run a 5k a month for the whole year.

Well, February rolled around and I saw this story about the Dopey Challenge. It’s 4-day race covering 48.6 miles. If you go on the cruise it’s 51.3 miles. I didn’t go on the cruise.

I trained through the summer and did 5k after 5k. Though once the holidays hit, man I failed. I was stressed out at work, I ate terribly and I didn’t train. Excuse, excuse, excuse. But that’s what happened. I was petrified to go to Florida. I didn’t know if I could actually do ANYTHING. I went anyway, mostly because I had already paid for it.

I get really nervous doing something for the first time. I do not like not knowing what to expect, where exactly I am going and what time anything is going to happen. So having to get up on the morning of the 5k at 2:30am to get on a bus and follow a crowd to “where I’m supposed to go,” was full of anxiety, but I made it!

Once I found my way to my corral, I was in the last one, there was a lot of standing around. Another thing, I was not prepared for the 30-degree weather. I was in leggings, a t-shirt and crew neck sweatshirt. No gloves, face guard, ear muffs, hat… nothing. I was praying for our corral to get released so I could start running to warm up. The 5k course was good, relatively flat and pretty easy to walk.

The next morning I literally sprung out of bed. I was really excited about the 10k. I knew where I was going, and what I was supposed to do. The only thing I was nervous about what keeping pace and completing the race. It was still freezing but I managed to find some gloves to purchase and had a faceguard in my suitcase left over from traveling to Alaska.

I did it, I completed the 10k. I did it right in front of the 16:00/mile pacers. I was so proud of myself. When I got back to the room I took the hottest shower I have ever taken and then went back to sleep.

After the 5 and 10k, I ended up going to the parks with one of my friends. I think that was a huge mistake. I should have hung out by the pool or just stayed in bed for those two days. Also, I was going to bed between 10 pm and 11 pm to be up at 2:30 am. Definitely not recommended for those thinking about running a Dopey.

The morning of the half I woke up but something was wrong. I used the restroom and when I came out I had no peripheral vision. I looked at my friend and was like, nope. I can not do this, I have no balance and I feel horrible. I was in bed for two days straight with the lovely 2018 flu. Thank God my friend is basically a medicine cabinet and she made sure to pump me full of Mucinex every six hours.

I was super sad I got sick, BUT I am super proud of what I accomplished and I can’t wait until next year!!