So here it is… My Walt Disney World Marathon race report!!
The journey to this technically began July 1, 2010 when I started running. The wheels got set further in motion September 5, 2010 when some friends ran the Disneyland Half Marathon and got their Coast to Coast medals. And then last year, January 8, 2011, I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and made the decision “Next year, the full!”
My history with Disney goes back so far… My first movie was Bambi. I remember tv dinners in front of The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights with my parents. I didn’t get to Walt Disney World until I was 8, but I haven’t stopped going since! (I’m even now a Walt Disney World cast member, working at The Disney Store!) So I can’t think of a better place to have my first half and my first full! The fact that they were both on January 8 just added to the happy for me!
My training I guess technically started when I was training for the Disneyland Half this year as I went from that to training for Disney’s Wine and Dine Half (actually it was my Gallo-Jenn Frankenplan that I constructed from what I already knew from Coach Jenny’s plan in Marathoning for Mortals as well as Jeff Galloway’s “official” training plan for W&D) – and fishtailed that into Coach Jenny’s run/walk plan in Marathoning for Mortals. By and large training went well. I had one long run cut short because of foot pain. And my taper was more of a “do nothing”. But I still felt pretty good going into it training-wise.
And then there was my stomach. It picked Tuesday and Wednesday to feel gross. I thought on Wednesday that it was due to “girl times”…but no. The off and on queasiness continued, so I had trouble making myself eat. It truly was “fueling” as I was only putting food into my body because I knew I needed it; not because I wanted to eat anything. Friday and Saturday things seemed to be better, so I thought we were in the clear. More on that later.
Thursday evening I flew down to Orlando. Friday morning I got up and walked the Family Fiesta 5K with my sister.
Then it was off to the Expo to get my marathon stuff! While there I caught the tail end of John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield’s seminar and got a pic with “my coach”.
We had a celebratory dinner for Daddy’s 70th birthday at Via Napoli, then watched Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. We overheard a woman working a dessert party telling some people next to us the story of Illuminations and it really made the whole thing even more meaningful! Very cool!!
Saturday morning, Andrea and I got up to cheer on Seth, Rick and Becca (and clearly everyone else) at the Half Marathon.
It stayed chilly for that whole race. If only that had continued! Mom, Daddy, Andrea and Seth went to Hollywood Studios. I opted to stay at Caribbean Beach Resort…only I ended up going to Downtown Disney and getting a Domenico (hot fudge sundae with bananas) at Ghiradelli’s! YUMMY!!!!! My stomach was still feeling better at this time. We went to J. Alexander’s for dinner and all seemed to be well. I even managed to get some sleep.
Sunday…MARATHON MORNING!!! I took the bus over and met up with Andrea (race sherpa) and Seth (he was going Goofy…the half on Saturday and the full on Sunday). Once the call to corrals came, Seth and I walked over to our respective corrals for the start. Each wave (and runDisney is EXPERT at the corral thing…you are checked by multiple volunteers going in to ensure that you’re in the correct corral…and when it’s time to move a corral it’s done calmly and very organized) gets its own send-off with fireworks! Hooray!! I was in Corral F, so my start was at 5:55. The first bit is down a road – my parents were up and on the other side (there are two sides to the road and both were used, but the spectators were closer to the other one than the starting side). Apparently my dad spotted me and yelled – I didn’t hear him though…too chaotic! It was partway into the first mile that I realized my stomach was in fact NOT happy. I sipped on little sips of nuun – and then some water when we hit the first station. I managed to get one GU down at the 45 minute mark…but my stomach wasn’t happy, and I only managed about half of each subsequent one until I gave up on them. I did make a couple of bathroom stops that were absolutely necessary. My running was hindered by this stomach upset as well as the harder I ran the more I wanted to puke. And honestly I couldn’t decide if I’d have been better off to just stick a finger down my throat (I didn’t) or not. Still, I kept going. As we ran through World Showcase, I shouted “Thank you!” to the sculpture of Grete Waitz in Norway. More main road around the Richard Petty Driving Experience and into the ticket and transportation center parking lot and on to the Magic Kingdom. I knew from Saturday where to look for my parents and sister, so I was looking for them. Apparently I saw Shannon (from RWOL BF) but it didn’t register that it was her. I did stop to hug Daddy and Andrea (Mom was taking pics) and said “I feel like I’m gonna puke.” Andrea said “Don’t puke, run!” so into Tomorrowland I went. This was the first time I saw the Brightroom phorographers (I tried to look for them…I wanted to get good pics this time!!), so I put on my happy face and smiled for the camera. Through Fantasyland and the castle we went and into Adventureland. Then came a pretty tough stretch – not only were we out of the parks for a while, there were very few spectators (after the Grand Floridian there was no place for them) AND we got to hear the announcer for the first half of the relayers saying “You’re finished!” to them as they crossed the line. NOT what you want to hear at the halfway point of a marathon. The temperature was starting to rise to around 79 as well. At least at this point there was some shade. Down Bear Island Road we went – past the water treatment plant and the horticulture department – and into Animal Kingdom. Somewhere along Bear Island Road we got bananas!! I decided that either it would help or make me puke – which would probably help. It helped (sans puking)!!! I perked up and felt better. Sadly it was getting hotter than I am accustomed to and running was hard. (I was doing a lot more walking than I’d planned…but I was getting it done!) There was some cuteness as we entered Animal Kingdom via Rafiki’s Planet Watch – baby owls, a scarlet macaw, a great horned owl, albino ferrets, a pot bellied pig, a tortoise…oh, and a snake (which was being ignored by everyone) were out! I briefly considered riding Expedition Everest, but nixed that as I knew I was slow already. It was cool running through the parks when they were open, I’ve gotta say. Made you feel famous, no matter how slow you were. Coming out of Animal Kingdom, the grave diggers from the Haunted Mansion were there for pictures – and people were being directed to lay down as if dead. ADORABLE pics, but I didn’t think I’d get back up again if I did that. Something for next year! Another section that for me was only tough because of the sun – there was no shade. It was a little out and back, but I connected up with Kelly from ROTE for a little while and then there was a guy from near Philly who I leapfrogged with for a while and we’d chat at times. More bananas somewhere along here, also good. Went up the ramp I remembered from Wine and Dine (complete with the Green Army Man Sergeant) and headed into Hollywood Studios. In there, we got CHOCOLATE!!!!! YUMMY!!!!! I did my one and only stop for a pic with characters at Russel and Dug (from Up).
Love them! Anyway, by this point I was feeling really good! (I know, right? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?) I still wasn’t running as much as I’d like, but I was proud of myself for toughing through and was determined to finish strong. Around the Boardwalk and the Yacht and Beach Club and back into EPCOT and World Showcase. I have to admit this was tough…I knew where I needed to get, and I also knew that we were taking the long way to get there. I started saying “Just get to…” whatever the next country was. Another thanks to Grete. And then suddenly we were in Future World and almost there. We rounded the corner into a backstage area and there was the gospel choir. A little zig zag and we were to the fence where the spectators were…I saw my parents, Andrea, and my friend Rick and the tears started. I managed to choke them back and run across the finish line!!
(Yes I posted this before, but I love it! I’m a marathoner!!)
And a pic with Seth – who I’ve been on this half to full journey with.
It was back to the resort for a shower, then we all reconnected and headed into Epcot and the Rose and Crown where Seth, Andrea and I had black velvets.
YUM!!! Further celebration that night took place at Kobe Steaks, and the following morning at breakfast at Ohana. And then it was time to fly back to NYC.
My finish time 6:33:30. Slower than I’d hoped, but given the circumstances (heat, my stomach deciding on Sunday that it didn’t like GU – which I’d trained with for all my races so who even knows) I’m very happy. I’m a marathoner!
And I love 26.2. Now to decide if I want to do one between now and Disney 2013 or just focus on training for it. San Francisco was on my list, but that’s a 6 hour limit and even with my stomach working right and likely cooler temps I’m not sure I can knock that much off my time. I may see what happens with more running and decide closer to the time if it’s not sold out. We’ll see.
But for me the Walt Disney World Marathon was a great experience. As Joe from The Marathon Show said, I’m a finisher! And I’m also, now, spoiled! runDisney does it right!!