5k, 10k and Half recaps before getting to the good stuff!
THE BIG RACE! I was TERRIFIED for this race for many months leading up to it. My last marathon was in Disney in 2013 and it was Horrible. I was in so much pain, I felt so discouraged and the last 10k of that marathon took 1:38!! Not fun. I knew that my problems were training/overtraining and had nothing to do with the Disney marathon so it wasn’t that, it was just the wondering of could I do it?
The pre-race anxiety was pretty minimal though because I’d already done the whole morning routine for the past three mornings so what was one more? Plus I kept telling myself, no more 3am wakeups in the near future! I felt like I had eaten a lot of food to “carbo-load”/refuel from the half marathon but still made myself eat like two/three dinners the night before – lol!!
Once Sunday morning finally rolled around, I didn’t really feel super anxious, sure, a little bit but I knew I would finish, even if it turned into a Death March there in the end because DARN IT I AM NOT GOING TO MISS OUT ON THREE MEDALS! I did develop quite a bit of anxiety once we got on our race bus that seemed as though it was going to KIDNAP US! We seriously got on the bus and then the driver pulled over and just sat there… as we watched about 5-6 other buses drive by. I was seriously freaking out about this. Plus the driver was BLARING THE MOST INAPPROPRIATE MUSIC.
We did finally get to the race start area and luckily I had signed up for this Dopey Challenge thing through Runner’s World and that was a pretty big waste of money until this morning when I could use the private porto-potties with NO LINE! So I hurried for those and then made my way to the start corrals while my sister headed for the Chear Zone in Magic Kingdom!
I bypassed so many people by walking in the grass instead of on the roadway and managed to get to my corral with plenty of time to spare. I think I was there about 5:10 or so and the start was not until 5:30 + I was in corral G again so that added another 20 minutes. So I had plenty of time to calm down, sit, stretch, etc. It was actually really pleasant weather this morning so I just wore my tank top and shorts and felt comfortable which was nice because I didn’t have to mess with any throwaway clothes or anything like that. I opted to forego carrying my water bottle again so I just had my phone and a couple of Gus.
The fireworks sent us on our way around 5:50 or so and then it got real for me! I think I was actually “that person” in my corral because I was not at all planning to run a 4:15 marathon pace like the pace group in my corral was… so the first probably 10 miles of this race were so discouraging because people kept passing me left and right! But I just managed to keep a slowish, comfortable-feeling pace (I was also running it totally time-blind because I didn’t want to suck up too much battery on my phone by doing GPS tracking). I just kept running and tried to work out the muscle soreness from the previous days.
OMG WHAT IS GOING ON?
I decided to chunk up this marathon in my mind to help pass the time. I’d figured it was 6ish miles to the Castle, another 6ish to Animal Kingdom, about 5ish to ESPN Wide World of Sports, 3ish to Hollywood Studios and then fairly constant entertainments until the finish. So as I was running, I just counted down until the next interesting venue and tried not to do the full math on the distance remaining… I actually was able to be really excited for the Castle because that meant part one was almost done and also I knew I would get to see my sister!!
I didn’t really stop for any pre-castle pictures this time but did pull over to the side so my sister could take one of me before I headed on my way again.
After leaving the Magic Kingdom, I started the mental countdown until Animal Kingdom! I love Animal Kingdom so I was really looking forward to running through that and also, AK was the time my last marathon here went to crap so I was looking forward to passing that marker to remind myself I was not running that same race.
I totally forgot about running on the Speedway so that was not in my calculations but we started that around mile 8 and exited around mile 9. It was fun seeing all the old cars lined up though! I wasn’t feeling too encouraged at this point… I was starting to really doubt whether I could finish or not.
But then I started to get close to the AK, and there were so many interesting things leading into the Animal Kingdom including actual animals!! (also the waste treatment plant but let’s pretend that doesn’t exist, k?) so that got me feeling a bit better about myself and running.
The SUN IS RISING!
I really liked running through Animal Kingdom this year and also I knew the half-way marker was up ahead!! Yeah!
LOOK AT ME I AM HAVING FUUUUUUNNNN!!!
After exiting the Animal Kingdom area you run across the 14 mile marker so I knew that meant about 4ish miles until ESPN!
CAUTION RUNNERS, RUNNERS COMING AT YOU AHEAD
The bad thing about ESPN though… you spend about 1-2 miles running TOWARDS people who have already passed the 20 mile mark :( – I remember not feeling very encouraged about that in the past and didn’t much like it again this year! I knew my time would come though so I just kept running and tried to listen to my book instead of obsessing over the fact that those people were so much further than me!
In 2013, I HATED ESPN so much! But this year, I can honestly say I loved it!! It was so fun to run around the track and through the sidewalks and then finally through the baseball stadium! It was just so much fun!!
Can we talk for a minute about how this guy was wearing a belt and khaki shorts?
I don’t think I have ever been having FUN at mile 20 of the marathon but this time, I sure was! I was completely clueless on my time but knew the rough time I started the race and also roughly how long it would take me to run a 10k and thought maybe, just maybe, I could get close to my PR time so I decided to book it for the finish!
IT’S MILE 20 AND I AM NOT DEAD YET!
It probably wasn’t my wisest decision ever in my life but it turned out to be what helped pull me towards the finish mentally. My legs were just feeling good and running faster for the first time all weekend was just feeling better so I just went with it! Miles 20-23 passed in no time!
I was too intent on getting to the finish that I feel like I didn’t really make much notice of running through Hollywood Studios… I am sad because this will be the last year I could have had pictures with the Sorcerer’s Hat in the background and instead I have serious face.
How many miles is your marathon?
I felt like I was exiting HS as soon as I started running into it but then around two miles to go, I stopped to grab some Powerade and I totally fell off the roll I was on… I was still able to keep running but it was not quite as fast and mentally I started to suffer a little bit more so at that point I pretty much gave up hope of PR’ing.
Running around the Boardwalk was cool (although it started sprinkling a bit at this point which actually cooled me off nicely) and I was getting really excited to run around World Showcase!!
Can we talk another minute about that dude behind me in the black t-shirt wearing an oxygen depravation mask? Can we also talk about how FREAKING ANNOYING it was that his breath sounded like DARTH VADER!?
But seriously, HOW WAS THE LAST 1.2 MILES AROUND WORLD SHOWCASE ACTUALLY 10,000 miles!?!?
NO ONE TOLD ME WE WERE LITERALLY RUNNING AROUND THE WORLD!
I felt like I was running and running and running and getting nowhere!!
THIS IS WHAT MILE 25.8 OF A MARATHON LOOKS LIKE!
But finally I saw the choir! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! And knew that meant FINISH LINE!!!! So I booked it for the finish!
I THINK I MIGHT WIN!
YEAH!!!!!! 4:42:01 later, I was a Dopey Challenge finisher!! Unbelievable! I was seriously in shock that I was able to finish this thing and just to finish the marathon feeling relatively OKAY!
48.6 miles in four days. Pretty crazy but I did it! And came within three minutes of my marathon PR on top of it all!
I grabbed my medals (ALL THREE OF THEM!!!!) and headed straight for the buses because I just wanted to stretch at the hotel instead of on the ground. Turns out I missed my chance to see Dopey for a photo op but I was pretty much ready to sit down and eat food anyways. Sorry, Dopey, you are kind of weird anyways.
I think I will still do some reflecting on this week/weekend in a future post but this one is long enough for now so I will stop while I am ahead.