Sorry for the lateness of this report. Life has been crazed the past week and I was waiting to see all the pics MarathonFoto found before I bought the download. (YES!!!! Disney finally dumped Brightroom and went with MarathonFoto!!! SOOOOOOOO much better!!!) But better late than never, right??
This past weekend was finally it ~ the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!! I was so excited!! I was pretty much packed by Tuesday other than last-minute stuff which I planned to throw in the bag Friday morning before leaving for school. I managed to get everything in the bag except my hairbrush, which I realized later. But in the great list of things I could have forgotten, a hairbrush was minor. I got through school and made it to the airport where I had what is becoming my traditional “leaving for a Disney race” meal of orange chicken with brown rice while I waited for my flight. Got on, discovered that the middle seat was empty (score!), and the flight got in very early!! A little bit of confusion finding my parents and sister – they were on the other side of MCO (it can be a confusing airport), but we met up and drove back to Saratoga Springs Resort where we had Christmas, then headed to bed (sis headed home).
Saturday morning, I got up early to meet up with Andrea and Seth to see him off to begin his Goofy Challenge and then to go with Andrea to cheer on the half runners. We were all braced for hot weather, but before the sun came up it was pretty pleasant – a little warm for running still, but doable. Once the sun came up it heated up quickly. But it was fun to see some friends go by. In addition to Seth, I saw Eddie and Rick go by. Then we headed to the finish line where I swear everyone there was standing watching the runners like they were creatures in a zoo. Nobody was clapping or cheering for anyone! Come on people, these runners have just run 13.1 miles! The least you can do is CLAP! At any rate, we both missed Seth finishing, but once I had the “finish time” text, we headed into the reunion area to meet up with him. We went back to the resort where he cleaned up and then we all (Seth, Andrea, Mom, Daddy and I) headed to the Expo so I could get my packet. I took my proof of time from Broad Street to see if I qualified to move up a corral (I figured with the heat – it was predicted to be into the upper 70s or low 80s!! – I needed all the time cushion I could get), but I fell about a minute short. The girl was nice though – “Next year!” she said, encouraging me. We walked around a little bit, then went to get lunch at Sweet Tomatoes (another tradition for Disney races apparently as we’ve done it 3 or 4 times now). After that, we went to Animal Kingdom for some chill park time. Lots of fun. Dinner back at the resort a little later, and it was time for bed.
Sunday morning the alarm went off at 1:45am and I slowly started moving. I wanted to be at the bus stop as close to 3am as possible so I could be on and headed over and not have to worry as much knowing the long walk to the staging area and then to the start corrals. I got my stuff on, grabbed my Generation U Can bottles and my water bottle, then headed out the door. I didn’t make the first bus, but I made the second one. Met up with Seth and Andrea and we hung out until they called for people to start moving into the corrals. Headed over, and I worked my way to the front of Corral F. Soon after, the 5:30 pacer for the Clif Pace Team came up to chat with those who were going to be running with her. You didn’t have to have signed up before to run with them. She was going to use walk breaks (granted every 1/2 mile, but she said you could use whatever you were planning to), and since it was only a minute faster than what Broad Street said I could do… Also going through my mind was that it was going to be hot – really hot – and Amy had given the suggestion (not necessarily recommended, but it seemed to make sense in a weird way) of going out hard and then walking when I needed to as it got hot… And I decided what the hell…I’d just try and hang with the pace leader as long as I could. See what happened.
5:30am, the fireworks went off to start the wheelchairs, and I downed my first bottle of GenUCan. Corrals A-D each took off, and as Corral E passed us walking to the start, we walked over and began walking up to the start. At 6:10am, the fireworks went off for Corral F and we were off. I was keeping up really well with the pace group – sometimes even a little ahead of them, so I tried to let their leader’s pace guide me. Because we were on different run/walk schedules there was some leapfrogging, but I managed to stay with them for about 5-6 miles. Woo!!
They changed the course, so we didn’t get the early morning run around World Showcase by torchlight, which I really missed. A lot. Basically the first miles were the exact same as the half, which meant we got to Magic Kingdom at Mile 6. Of course that meant I was a lot fresher when I saw Mom and Daddy and Andrea also. We didn’t go through New Fantasyland at all – it was still the same course it has been. That may change next year, but who knows. The Royal Trumpeters were on the balcony as we entered the castle – some people reported them playing the theme from Rocky, but we just got a fanfare – which was MORE than fine with me! Running through the castle is always fun!
And this time I peeled off to the side to get one in front of the castle…
We left the Magic Kingdom and headed out and started towards Animal Kingdom. But first we had to make a detour through the speedway.
Um, ICK! I’m not a car kind of girl, so I couldn’t have cared less about the supposedly classic cars all around. It was just an endless mile or so of asphalt hell for me. I will be shedding no tears if this miserable bit of the course gets removed next year – especially if it means we get World Showcase by torches back again.
We did get to Animal Kingdom a lot earlier this year, which meant it was pretty quiet as the park hadn’t opened yet. By the time I got there, they had Expedition Everest (a roller coaster that is AWESOME!!!) open for us, so quite a few of us were peeling off and dashing through the fastpass line to ride the coaster. Because I was determined to have fun, this was definitely on my list. We were all laughing and screaming and clapping. One girl behind me screamed “BEST MARATHON EVER!!!!!” as we started up the hill, and I have to agree. One added benefit was that we all got cooled off because of the air on us, and I really think that helped perk me up and keep me going.
I should note that on the way into Animal Kingdom, I had the GenUCan I was carrying with me, but other than that I felt no need for anything – no bananas, no gels…only water at the stations and Nuun in my handheld. I’m telling you…that stuff is pure magic!!!
One of my other “I will do!!” this year was a picture with the Grave Diggers (from the Haunted Mansion…but exported as we don’t really run past it in MK.
The once horrid out and back on Osceola Parkway was drastically shortened – thank God!! (And I’m sure Chief Osceola was happy he didn’t have thousands of people cursing his name too!) – because they added in a jaunt through the Wide World of Sports. It wasn’t the exact course we used at Tower – more trotting around sidewalks through the back fields, which were in use by various teams. (I heard someone got hit by a softball!) We did go around the track – where a segment was in use by a track team practicing hurdles as I went through, which is awesome. At some point in Sports I caught up with Rick and tried to encourage him. He passed me in there and at some point I passed him again. I was basically walking at this point (that started around Mile 15 as it was getting HOT), and walked and talked for a while with a woman who was running in spite of her last month of training not going so well. She was really nice to talk with – I wish I remembered her name or number so I could see if she finished! We also had to run around the warning track in the baseball stadium. Another meh thing for me, but if it means no horrid out and back, I’ll take it!
Out of Sports and we headed to the 20 Mile celebration. They had some large puppet-y things and a big arch. I enjoyed it personally. Disney never said what they were doing, but a lot of people had a lot of assumptions about where it would be and what it would be and so were disappointed. I was fine with whatever they were doing. 🙂 We were at Mile 20!!
We headed back down to go into Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which meant passing the Green Army Man Sergeant. Oh fun! Fortunately someone stopped to take pictures with him so I didn’t get yelled at for walking. Hee!! Into the Studios via a backstage way, and I knew what was coming!! Chocolate!!!! I was ready for something at this point as I had only carried one bottle of GenUCan with me. LOVE the chocolate stop!!! A little kid who was volunteering handed me a Special Dark and a Mr. Goodbar. I was handing that one back to him and my Special Dark fell. I started to bend down and pick it up and (I assume his mom) the woman in front of him said “Don’t make her bend over!! Get it!!” Grabbed a few more non-peanut-containing bars from a volunteer further down the line as they were saying “Take whatever you want!” The park was open by this point, and between dedicated marathon spectators, Cast Members, and people just walking through the park, the support was great! I had to wave to people! 🙂
We headed out of Studios and around to the Boardwalk. I was hot and sweaty, but still feeling good!
Even if some of us were joking about jumping into the canal and turning it into a duathalon. Hee! Headed around the Boardwalk and into EPCOT via International Gateway. I looked at the time and did some quick calculations and started pushing because I saw what was possible in spite of everything.
Suck it up Buttercup. Game face ON!
Around World Showcase I went. Sped past icky Duffy Bear and turned into Future World. Before I knew it, I was turning the corner to go backstage. It seemed like the gospel choir was further down than last year, but I could just be remembering wrong. Soon, I turned the corner and could see the finish line…
Feeling so good and so strong. I bore down and went for it – while taking time to high five Minnie and Donald (I picked the wrong side as last year Mickey was on the right. But it’s ok.) I quickly glanced at the Garmin and knew I had it…
That is pure happiness at finishing…and with a shiny new PR!
Yep! You read that right! I rode a roller coaster mid-race, waited in line for a picture where I had to lay on the ground, mostly walked from Mile 15 on, and still finished in 6:17:18 to better my Chicago time of 6:18:56!!
The shiny, sparkly bling is mine!!!
It was hot and humid. It really was. But I honestly had the best time I’ve ever had in a race and can’t wait until next year!!!
Bring it on!