We are finally to the big day. Marathon day!
It was absolutely nothing that I had pictured and nothing that I had planned. In a few ways (my time and sore feet), it was worse. But in almost every other way, it was better.
My mom felt it was necessary to take a picture of me eating my pre-race peanut butter sandwich.
I woke up at 2:45 to a Mickey and Stitch wake-up call. Luckily I had laid out all my stuff the night before:
I got up, got dressed, slathered on SPF 50 sunscreen, ate a PopTart and a part of a peanut butter sandwich, and I was off.
I got to the bus stop around 3:25 a.m. Marathon transportation was running from 3–4 a.m. From 3:25 until 4 a.m., probably six buses passed us by and never picked anyone up. It was terrible. Finally someone called the resort and told them that they needed to send buses our way. One came around 4:05 – except it was full, but we were able to get on and stand in the aisle.
Unfortunately it was 90 million degrees on the bus, I still had the flu, my sunscreen was very aromatic, and we were stuck in traffic for 45 minutes. Oh, and I tend to get bouts of motion sickness. So I sat myself down in the aisle, put my head between my knees, and prayed to God that we would get to the staging area quickly. We didn’t, but I didn’t puke, so that was good.
We finally made it to the staging area, and I dropped off my bag at bag drop, with sandals and such for after the marathon. I used a super disgusting port-a-potty and continued on my way to Corral C!
It was quite a walk from the staging area to the corral, but I needed all the extra time I could get to recover from that horrible bus ride! It was already super humid at 5 a.m. Gah! Not a good sign of things to come!
But soon enough, it was time to start! First Corral A took off, then Corral B, and we inched our way closer to the start. Finally, it was our turn for fireworks!
Ahhhhh!!!! The start line!
The start of the marathon was pretty exciting. I really couldn’t believe that just a year ago I couldn’t run two minutes on the treadmill and here I was at Disney (trying) to run 26.2 miles. I must be out of my gourd.
The first mile passed pretty quickly, though not quickly enough. I wasn’t moving at as fast as a pace as I wanted.
However, two days ago I didn’t think I would be able to run ten feet, so I was doing alright.
Mile 1 – 12:26
There were some different banners and nice pictures of Mickey, etc. along the side of the road that I didn’t take pictures of. I just was focused on getting through the first few miles; they are always the hardest miles for me – settling into a rhythm and overcoming the mental blocks.
Mile 2 – 11:55
As I pounded down the highway towards mile marker 2, I saw a large ship in the distance.
At this point, I wasn’t running the pace I wanted to, but I was still running. I knew I wouldn’t make my time goal so there was a big decision to make:
Do I run this marathon for a specific time, or do I run this marathon for fun?
This is Disney after all:
So I decided to run for fun! You can’t pass up Captains Jack and Barbosa in front of the Black Pearl! Too bad Orlando Bloom wasn’t there…
Captain Jack had a very long line, evidenced by my third mile.
Mile 3 – 16:27
Not much was going on after Captain Jack for the next mile or two.
Mile 4 – 12:45
Somewhere around mile 5 or so, Jack Skellington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas were out for pictures. But I hate, hate, hate that movie! I hated it 20 years ago when I first saw it, so I gave it another chance around Christmas 2012. It was still stupid. So I gladly passed up their super long line.
My plan had to been to run around 10:45–11:00 minute miles. So we can see what the flu and a lack of nourishment does even at the beginning of the marathon.
Mile 5 – 12:22
We then entered the Magic Kingdom!
We passed by the Contemporary and under the monorail on our way into the park.
Around this time, I ran alongside a guy and his wife – he was dressed as Marlin and she was dressed as Dory from Finding Nemo. Except that everybody was shouting “Nemo!” at him, and he was actually Marlin so he kept shouting “No, I’m Marlin!” He was already kind of pissed at mile 5, I can’t imagine after 26.2 what he was saying to people that called him Nemo! 😛
Running up Main Street.
Then I came across a long line that I definitely had to stand in!
Belle and the Beast! My two favorite Princesses at one photo op!
After I stood in this line, I realized that there was one that I really should have waited in – King Mickey and Queen Minnie! Unfortunately, my time was already very bad and I wanted to keep moving.
Mile 6 – 20:29
I still wish I had stopped for them!
I then ran through the castle and was greeted by the crowds on Main Street.
Had to stop for a photo op in front of the castle!
And we continued on our way! Outside of the Magic Kingdom, we passed by the Grand Floridian and ran into some old friends: Mary Poppins and Burt!
Mile 7 – 12:08
Mile 8 – 13:40
Came across a character from another Disney favorite! Genie! Grant me a wish – to finish this marathon!
It was pretty warm by this point – the sun was up and we were on pavement, so were being cooked like eggs in a frying pan!
Right before mile marker 9, we had a very, very steep descent and then ascent into the Walt Disney World Speedway. We ran 1.25 miles on the track.
Mile 9 – 14:20
Saw some Challengers on the track.
They also had some of the Cars characters out, like Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen, but I didn’t stop for pictures with them.
On the highway to Animal Kingdom, I met up with some friends…and some enemies!
Yikes, what are we plotting?
Jiminy, I need some advice. How does one run 26.2 miles?
Mile 10 – 15:31 (long line for the evil characters!)
Mile 11 – 14:07
We were now on our way into Animal Kingdom!
I ran by Expedition Everest
And met Safari Daisy and Minnie
Our jaunt through Animal Kingdom was way too short, but before we hit the highway, we met Safari Pluto and Mickey!
Mile 12 – 12:38
Mile 13 – 13:06
We are halfway there!!!
Mile 14 – 15:21
Somewhere around here, we started running on the highway…and we never stopped.
It was mindnumbingly boring, and it was hot as Hades.
I want to take this moment to thank the thousands of volunteers who made the marathon possible. There were something like 22 water stops on the course, and I utilized every single one of them! They filled up the water bottles I was carrying and gave me cups of water and Powerade to drink. I never would have made it without the volunteers!
Mile 15 – 16:28
Mile 16 – 14:23
Mile 17 – 17:13
Somewhere around here I took a picture with my absolute favorite character during the marathon.
Life is like a hurricane…here in Duckburg…
And then another one…
Sometimes some crimes go slipping through the cracks…
CHIP ‘N DALE!!!!
But they didn’t rescue me, I had to continue on my way.
Mile 18 – 13:50
Around mile 18, we entered into Disney’s Wide World of Sports. While it was nice to see some grass and run on a track and break up the monotony, it was boring. It might have even been more boring than the highway. I was never this bored during my long training runs. I was also possibly delirious from my lack of food.
Mile 19 – 15:31
Mile 20 – 18:01
At mile 19.5, we went into the baseball field in WWOS. At this point, I had expected the “Mile 20 Spectacular” and was sorely disappointed that it was basically a video feed of the runners on the big screen. I was not happy. As evidenced by this picture:
WWOS was slowly killing me. Outside we hit the actual Mile 20 Spectacular, but I still wasn’t impressed. These guys were there, but I had no time to stop. My feet hurt so badly and I just wanted to be done.
Mile 21 – 17:02
Mile 22 – 16:24
Mile 23 – 16:00
Around mile 23, we finally entered into another Disney park. It had been 10 miles since we left Animal Kingdom and those 10 miles were boringgggggg.
So we entered into Disney’s Hollywood Studios! There was a candy stop at mile 23, which was heaven! Mini Hershey bars! They tasted so delicious! They were slightly melted since it was like 90º.
We ran through the backstage areas and through where they house costumes from previous Disney movies. That was so neat!
Finally, we came to another character I wanted to take a picture with!
I’m gonna wreck it!
After this, we ran down the Main Street of Hollywood Studios. They were playing One Direction on the loudspeakers, and for some reason, it gave me a lot of energy! I was bobbing my head along to the music and happy that I had just a 5k left!
Mile 24 – 16:11
After leaving Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we headed on a narrow path to the Boardwalk. It was very nice, though tight. It was extremely difficult to pass anyone.
Mile 25 – 15:28
We finally entered Epcot, and I spotted my brother and sister-in-law! I was so excited – crappy bus transportation had forced my family to miss me throughout the marathon so I was so happy that I almost cried when I saw them. I high-fived them and continued on my final 1.2 miles!
The marathon photographers captured the moment I saw Karl and Theresa!
Mile 26 – 16:59
A gospel choir sang us the final .2 miles to the finish line.
And I sprinted as fast as I could “sprint” after 26.19 miles.
Final time: 6:42:53
I did it!!!!
After puking twice on an airplane, after less than 2,000 calories in 3.5 days, after feeling like I was going to puke on a bus 30 minutes before the marathon, and after one year of training, I completed the Walt Disney World 20th Anniversary Marathon.
And when someone says that I’m not tough and that I can’t hack something, I will relate this story and ask them what they did 3 days after coming down with the flu. And their answer will probably be sat on their butt on the couch, not run 26.2 miles in the record high Florida temperatures. And I will laugh and show them my medal.
It may have taken me 1.5 hours longer than planned, but if this doesn’t show my determination, I don’t know what does.
And to end a great race, I went over to get a picture with a character from my favorite cartoon. Scrooge McDuck. And to mess up my awesome happiness, Scrooge McDuck switched out with Daisy right when it was my turn!!! Noooooooooo!
But she was cute, so I got a picture.
I grabbed my stuff, got my snack box, and headed for the bus! We headed back to Port Orleans Riverside, and my mom was kind enough to grab us a pizza and a sweet, cold chocolate milk for me.
My plan was to take a shower, a nap, and rest! However, I ate and felt awesome!
I showered and headed out for the Magic Kingdom with everyone, except for my poor, poor dad.
It turns out that I gave him my flu bug. He did watch me at the marathon (on Sunday), but after we got back to the hotel, he was down for the count. The poor guy didn’t leave the hotel room until Thursday – and only then so we could fly home to Pennsylvania! I felt so terrible!
And that is the tale of my first marathon. I was slow, and I was sore, and I was tired. But I finished, and it was great!
I never thought that I would run a marathon. My goal in 2012 was to run a 5k! If I can do it, anyone can!