This marathon can be summed up in one word. Pain.
It was a little painful to have the 1:50 am wake up call again but this time we’d had success going to be early so that helped. I think we ended up with 5ish hours of sleep so that’s not much less than normal for me. We got ready for running and then headed to the race bus shuttles around 3:30am. For some reason, the buses were not coming fast enough and the line was so long! We were all supposed to be at the race start line by 4 am (per Disney’s instructions on our race materials) but we were not even loaded on the bus until 4:20ish and we were the first bus of about 6+ probably.
We got to the race start pretty quick and felt really rushed but we should have just taken our time because we ended up sitting around everywhere. Our walk to the start corrals was actually much better than the half last year (because we were later??) and we got there in about 10 minutes (swear it was closer to 30 last year…). Ours was a rather late corral, F, so we had to wait about 30 minutes after the official start to go.
They do a count down for all the corrals, complete with fireworks and everything which is really cool! You get kinda over it by corral C or D though – ha! But eventually we did get started and started making our way through the crowds. Last year we just kept the pace of the corral we were in but that ended up sucking up so much time + energy so we tried to do some weaving and passing this year without going crazy doing it. I think it really did help us not walk so much the first half because we knew the last half was going to get H.O.T.
Mile one-two was pretty boring, mainly on highways but you still have that running adrenaline going so it goes SUPER fast! We were keeping about 10:45 pace at this point and that was feeling super easy.
Mile three you start heading through the Magic Kingdom entrance gates and to me that is one of the highlights of the race because it’s when you first realize this is real and you are running in Disney World! We were still keeping a pretty good pace at this point and feeling strong!
Mile four was through the outskirts of Magic Kingdom and again pretty boring. Lots of parking lots and lots of side roads.
Mile five started to get interesting as you go through the Magic Kingdom Park! The feeling of running down MainStreet U.S.A is like no other stretch of road I’ve ever run on. You see the Castle straight ahead, so many people are cheering and you feel so IN Disney. It’s probably my favorite mile of this whole race. You continue through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland and then THE CASTLE!!! We stopped here for mom to take our picture and then continued through Adventureland and exited the park. This mile was closer to 12:30 with the picture stop + crowd getting through the castle.
Mile six through eight was pretty boring again. Lots of highways + side roads to run on. Our paced picked up again after the park and we were still feeling really good at this point.
Miles eight through nine were really
runfun because we got to run on the Speedway they have down here. No clue what they have on this speedway?? But it was really runfun to run on. Because it’s a race track, it was a little slopped so you had to be careful to run on the flatter parts but there was actually plenty of room on this track to pass people and go your own pace.
Miles 10 though twelve were quite horrible. Running was still going good for us but Disney decided to have 2+ miles with no water stops at this point along the way which also ended up being the hottest part of the beginning half because the sun started rising by this point. You also run past the sewage treatment plant which is just plan disgusting. Kind of makes you realize Disney is not some perfect place after all… For the life of me I can’t figure out why they don’t try to reroute this race to avoid that…
Miles 13 through 15 started to get harder running-wise but we were both able to keep at it. At this point my stomach really started to bother me though and made it increasingly difficult to run… We did go through Animal Kingdom at this point which was a welcomed diversion but was kind of anti-climatic considering how cool it is running through MK.
After mile 15 we both essentially died. It got SO hot and my hips started hurting SO BAD! My knees also did not feel so good but the hips were the killers. I’ve never felt pain like this running before… We ended up trying to stop and stretch some and walk a large portion of this part and I think our paces dropped in the 16+ minute pace… (never really got any faster after this…)
Mile 16 through 17 we both wanted to stop running so darn bad. It was so painful.
Mile 17 we started the loop through the ESPN Wide World of Sports which maybe helped distract us some but this 3 mile stretch was quite possibly the most horrid stretch ever. I think this stretch is when we clocked our 20 minute mile. Awesome, right? We also saw mom at this point again and got to
runshuffle on the baseball field so that part was cool.
Mile 20 was the 20th Anniversary 20 Mile Spectacular! It wasn’t really that spectacular but it was kinda cool…
Can you see the pain in my smile?
Miles 20.05 through 23 were hellacious. On a side road/highway, frying in the heat we are not at all used to in January in Wisconsin, sick to our stomachs with so much gu + powerade and just plain miserable. It was during this stretch I became very resolved to never run another marathon. Maybe not EVER but certainly not anytime in the next 10 year… Bad, bad, bad stretch and I think I was in tears about 90% of it because I.Hurt.So.Damn.Bad.
Mile 23 through 24 were through Hollywood Studios and that was a welcomed relief at this point but also just plain exhausting to realize we are only at 5k left. Kels had a bright idea to “run through this park at least” well, that lasted a total of 60 seconds… ha! We were in SO MUCH PAIN!!!! It was really cool though to run through another park. I really did like
runningwalking past Tower of Terror and the big magician hat.
Mile 24 was bad. Pain, pain, pain, ouch, ouch, ouch. We ran on the Boardwalk which I had never been on before and it was really cool looking. I just wish I could have enjoyed it a bit more but the pain was intense. I ended up taking some Tylenol which is totally not something I would have ever done in any other race I’ve ever run before, the pain was that bad.
As we came into EPCOT, we were nearing mile 25 and decided to give running a go again. I was surprised that Sister and I were able to run the last 1.2 miles with only 1 maybe 30 second walk stop! It helped us feel a little better about our finish to feel relatively strong running through World Showcase and redeeming ourselves after almost 10 miles of walking (gosh that sounds like a lot of WALKING outside of a marathon!)
I think we both have never been so happy to see a finish line. I think we actually managed to “sprint” to the finish and we were so darn happy to be done!!!!! We took an exhausting 5:54 minutes to finish, 3:30 of which were so painful but we still did it. Somehow!
In hindsight, I should not have signed up for 3 marathons before even doing 1. I should have never done more than 1 in 12 months, let along 3 in 7 months. There is not enough time to recover! I really do think my overzealous-ness caused me so much pain in this race but I also think if it would have been less painful, I would have thought about signing up for marathons in the future and then dreaded training/regretted it.
I wouldn’t trade any of my marathon experiences for anything though. Maritime was my first, my whole family was there and I finished my fastest ever. Lakefront was a real surprise that I could finish and with such a decent time. And Disney was with my sister, my sister’s first and only marathon and was magical in it’s own way. It’s OK to end my marathon running career here – lol. I think it’s time to retire the 26.2 and just enjoy the 13.1 and work on getting faster at that distance. I really do enjoy the halfs and enjoy training for them!
We’d planned to walk around a park after today but then decided a resting at the hotel day was in order so didn’t really do much else. Sweet Tomatoes for dinner, a quick stop at the outlet mall and an early bedtime rounded out day #3 in Disney!