Finally! Things have been a little crazy since I got back to work yesterday (apparently it’s IEP season), so finally, here is my post about the 2013 Disney World Marathon! I apologize in advance – many of the photos are blurry because I took them while I was running or walking!!
My alarm rang -when I looked at the clock , it was 2:30am. In a daze, I turned it off and went back to sleep. Fortunately, I had predicted this would happen and set another alarm for 2:45am. When that one went off, I hopped right out of bed and rushed to get everything ready for the race. I put on my compression shorts, children’s XL sparkle skirt, Snow White bamboo tank top, and red bow head band, brushed my teeth, made some coffee, grabbed a couple of gluten-free muffins, and headed out the door with Derek following behind me. It was 3am – the middle of the night – and we were about to run a marathon in a couple short hours. We drove the 40 minutes to Disney, quickly and easily found a parking space, and got in the zone.
Derek was too cool to dress up so he doesn’t get any pictures
We made our way over to Athlete’s Village (I guess that’s what it was called?) and waited for our corral to be called. As soon as we walked in, they called Corrals A&B and we started heading to the Start Line.
It was about a 20 minute walk to the Start Line from the sidewalk. Even though it was the middle of the night, I was wide awake and raring to go. We saw Fairy Godmother on our way to the Start, and lots of runners were lined up to have their pictures taken with her – maybe for good luck?
There was a DJ playing music out of his car at one point…
I really loved looking at everyone’s costumes while we were walking. There were people dressed as all of the famous Disney characters, princes & princesses, anything you could imagine that was remotely related to Disney. I thought these ladies looked super cute:
When we got to the Start Line, we went into our assigned corrals and chilled out for a bit watching the JumboTron. RunDisney reps were walking through the crowd of runners and asking them about their training, how they were feeling about the race, etc. They also interviewed Joey Fatone, who was running his first marathon – he seemed pretty confident and relaxed!!!
Around 5:30, it was time to start. We all stood up and listened to the National Anthem, and mentally prepared ourselves for what lay ahead.
The announcers told us there would be 8 waves of runners, and that there would be fireworks to send off each wave. First up was the wheelchair wave:
They called Corral A, then Corral B, and we were off! Mickey, Minnie, and Donald Duck cheered us on as we crossed over the start line.
It was about 67 degrees at the beginning of the race, which was significantly warmer than the weather I had been training in. I was a little bit worried about the temperature being unbearably warm once the sun came up, but I was comfortable for the time being and way too excited for it to bother me too much. The first 1.5 hours of the run was in the dark – this was kinda cool for me because I have never done a nighttime race before and it just felt very different from all of the marathons I’ve run in the past. We ran a good 8-9 miles before sunrise!
The course stretched out across all 4 Disney parks – Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, & Epcot – with plenty of entertainment along the way. All of the Disney characters, some new, some old, and some I didn’t recognize at all, were spread out along the course for photos. It was the first race I’ve done where people actually stopped to take pictures:
And this is where my race course photos end. I got a little overstimulated with everything going on during the race, and I thought I should probably leave some mystery for all of you who plan to run it someday! Around mile 10, when the sun came out, it started getting HOT. Derek and I stopped at every water station to walk for a few seconds and dump water on our heads to cool off. Normally, I would feel really guilty about doing this in any other race, but there was something really special about Disney. Everyone was really laid back and didn’t seem to be very worried about their time. Runners were standing in lines on the sides of the road to take pictures with their favorite Disney characters and stopping to snap photos posing along the course. There were marching bands playing, acrobats doing flips on trampolines, and tons of people cheering on the sidelines. Even though I was sweating my butt off and really uncomfortable, I was having the time of my life. I stopped caring about my pace and just took in all the sights and sounds of the race. It almost seemed – dare I say – magical?
By mile 20, I was pretty dang tired. I was having a lot of fun, but I also really wanted to be done. As with every other marathon I’ve run, I had hit the infamous “wall” and had to mentally push myself through the next 6 miles. Derek was hurting, too, but we pushed each other to keep going. When we got to Hollywood Studios, we had about 3 miles left to go. Boy did those 3 miles seem like they lasted FOREVER! I was tired, chafed, and boiling hot, but I knew the only way I was going to get something cold to drink was to finish. When we got to Epcot, I saw Snow White on the sideline – she curtsied to me and it gave me the last bit of motivation I needed to finish. Derek and I crossed the finish line together with a smile at 4:16:53. Definitely not my best time, but with the temperature at 83 degrees by the end of the race, I was pretty pleased with it!
At the finish line we were rewarded with the coolest race medal EVER:
Since it was the 20th anniversary, the medal boasted a vintage-looking Mickey 20 years ago, and Mickey today! This thing is HUGE – it weighs a crazy 8.7 oz!
After some recovery time, we took some pictures:
And of course we celebrated with our victory cups:
Overall, this was definitely the best marathon I’ve ever run. Even though it was uncomfortably warm, the course itself was awesome, the crowd support was comparable to the Boston Marathon, and it was SO well-organized. There were 25,000 runners – the same size as Boston & Philly – but it really didn’t feel like it. Parking was a breeze, getting back home was easy, and all of the volunteers were so genuinely kind and helpful. The only con I can think of is the expense. While this was the most fun marathon I’ve run, it was definitely the most pricey! Registration alone was close to $150 and with travel expenses, it got pretty costly. Totally worth it, though! I would definitely recommend this marathon to anyone who is looking to run a fun race and not worry about their pace. There’s just way too much to see and take in during this race and you’ll miss it all if you push yourself to run fast. I think this would also make the perfect marathon for a first-timer.
Thanks Disney for a great race! And a special thank you to my grandparents for feeding us and giving us a place to rest our sweaty heads!!! xoxoxoxo
What’s in store for me now? I’m taking a little break from running this week and focusing on strength training. I recently read about the New Rules of Lifting for Women from Meghann at mealsandmiles and I think I’m going to give it a try. One of my goals for this year is to do more strength training and I think this comprehensive program will help me do that. I’m running the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler on February 16th, the Eastern States 20 Miler in March, and the Pittsburgh Marathon in May. Looks like I won’t be taking a very long break from running so I’m enjoying this little time I do have!
Would you ever run Disney? What races would you want to run if given the chance?