I have a small problem with having to do everything to the extreme. I tend to function off of the “Go Big or Go Home” type attitude. It does not matter if it’s coursework, cooking dinner, planning a vacation, or making a gift for someone… I have trouble doing it in moderation. Hence, shortly after getting into long distance running, my lovely subconscious was already convincing me that I needed to run a marathon.
It took a little convincing, but eventually I managed to talk Kenny into it. My bargaining chip was a promise to do a triathlon sprint with him one day – I just have to figure out how to swim competitively first.
I have always heard great things about the Disney marathon from friends and other runners, so that seemed like the obvious choice to me. Plus, why not throw in a good vacation at the same time? See more about our time in Disney World and Universal here. ![blogPics](/static/img/disneymarathon/dm0.jpg "Getting Ready for the Race!")
The race start time was 5:30 AM. Much of the information online suggested that you arrive by 3:30 or 4 AM. We thought that sounded absurd. After all, we wanted as much sleep as possible before the race to make sure we were physically ready to go. Big mistake on our part! We ended up showing up just after 4:30, which seemed like plenty of time. However, after going to the bathroom (pre-race nerves), grabbing a few picture, and making the almost 2-mile trek to the starting line, we missed our coral start. We were supposed to start with coral B, but ended up much further back in coral E.
The Disney event coordinators did a great job getting runners pumped up to start! There was a bunch of music and fireworks to start every group! Kenny and I were pretty pumped and ready to go. We had a plan going in that we would run the first few miles together and then split out since Kenny was injured and was planning to take it slow.
The whistle blew and we took off with our massive crowd of running friends. It was difficult to move or get into a pace the first two miles. The course was not wide enough to accommodate the large number of people. In hindsight, we should have just relaxed, enjoyed the slower mile, and saved the energy for a time when we would need it later. But I had a goal to finish in 4 hours and I didn’t want to mess it up from the beginning, so we started ducking and weaving through the crowd to try to get back to our goal pace.
Eventually the crowd started to thin and we got some breathing room to run. The first few miles went by quickly and we soon came up on my favorite view of the run! Mile 5 brought us straight to the Magic Kingdom with the castle lit up bright against the dark sky! We ran straight through the middle and a big cheering crowd. ![blogPics](/static/img/disneymarathon/dm2.jpg "Magic Kindom!")
Kenny and I split off then so that he could take care of his hurt foot. After the Magic Kingdom, the race took to the highway again for a while. The Disney team really did a great job organizing the race and making sure everything was taken care of. Every few miles there was a character to meet and take pictures. We didn’t stop for any of these, but I think it would be a really fun way to do the race if you’re not running for time
The race went smoothly through Hollywood Studios and more highway miles. Then I hit mile 18 around ESPN Zone. Things went downhill quickly from there. My legs were burning out quickly. I ran miles 2-10 much faster than I had planned trying to accommodate for the slow start on mile 1-2 and I was already gassed. I was able to push through for another mile or two before I gave in and began a walk-run pattern for the remainder of the race.
Looking back now I’m still not sure how I finished. Everything in my body and mind was screaming that I didn’t want to move anymore, but somehow I kept pushing. We ran through Animal Kingdom and eventually found ourselves back at Epcot. I managed to jog the last half mile to the finish line at Epcot for a final time for 4:16.
Kenny came in a mere 10-15 minutes after me, which was extremely impressive (if a little frustrating) since he hadn’t trained in months. But he’s just a gifted athlete like that.
We were both really proud of ourselves for finishing. After some rest, Gatorade, and a liberal supply of ice packs, we made our way back to the hotel and took the most well deserved nap we have ever earned.![blogPics](/static/img/disneymarathon/dm1.jpg "Victory!")
Within a few hours we were already discussing when we will tackle the next marathon. My main goal for the next time is to finish the race without stopping (outside of water stands). We haven’t picked the race yet – but we’ll keep you posted. Who knows, maybe it will turn into a 50K or the Dopey challenge at Disney.
Check out our pro tips here for more insight into marathons and the Disney event specifically. We have more info about our overall trip to Orlando here.