January 18, 2015

Race Recap: Disney Marathon

Marathon #3 is on the books!  Sunday, January 11th I finished my third 26.2 in the happiest place on Earth--and revisited the site of my very first half marathon four years ago!

Six word race recap:
Running Buddy, Humid Weather, Finished Strong.

Now the full version.  Honestly, this race recap feels hard to write!  After the surprise proposal in Disney last Friday, the race that took place two days later felt like an after thought and a blur!  I'll do my best, though!

Thursday I arrived in Florida and hit up the race expo with my Dad.  I was very impressed with the organization of the event.  Disney used two huge event spaces at the Wide World of Sports, so it didn't feel crowded ever.  I didn't even have to wait in a line to get my bib or shirt.  We browsed a little, and while I resisted buying one of the many awesome finishers shirts, I of course bought two headbands.  Naturally.
Sunday morning came with a bright  dark and early 2:30am wake up call.  YAWN.  I got dressed and ready, sunscreened up, and hopped on the first shuttle from my hotel to the start line.  If you are doing a Disney race at any point, I highly recommend staying on property.  The shuttles to the expo and to and from the race are awesome.  Once I got to the race site, I waited around for an hour and a half or so before my running buddy, Cathy, and I started the long trek to our corrals.  Cathy said we'd logged almost two miles before the race even started!  

The start of a Disney race is truly special, with fireworks instead of a starting gun.  Cathy and I stuck to our plan of running 3/1 intervals and held a pretty consistent 11:30ish pace.  We ran the five miles from just outside of Epcot to the Magic Kingdom.  Almost immediately after the start, I had to use the restroom, but the lines at the porta potties were ridiculous as they usually are at the start of a race!  Soooo...I can now say that I've peed behind a tree on Disney property.  #classact  

Before we knew it, we were in the Magic Kingdom!  This is definitely the best part of any Disney race.  I still remember the elation I felt running down Main Street during my first half marathon, the 2011 Princess Half, and the novelty certainly hasn't worn off!  When you're running and catch your first glimpse of the castle, it feels pretty amazing.  Some highlights of the Magic Kingdom: Seeing my brand new fiance cheering for me on Main Street, running through Cinderella's castle, and running past the spot where I'd gotten engaged two days before.  Loved it!
The race temporarily loses a little spark after the Magic Kingdom because it's a fairly long trek to park #2, Animal Kingdom.  However, during that time we got to run along the track of the Disney Speedway which was pretty cool!  They had brought out a bunch of race cars and classic cars, and Cathy and I welcomed the distraction.  After that, our next stop was Animal Kingdom!  While we didn't hop off the course to ride the Everest ride (many runners actually do, believe it or not!!), this park was great to run through.  I love all of the unique decorative touches in Animal Kingdom that make you feel like you're in Nepal or Africa depending on which corner you turn around.  

On our way out, I spotted my family!  I ran off the course to get a quick kiss from my niece which I swear gave me a little energy boost. :)
After Animal Kingdom, we ran a several mile stretch before arriving in the Wide World of Sports.  This was the meat and potatoes of the marathon for Cathy and me, and the humidity that'd been plaguing us all morning turned to rain.  I don't usually mind running in rain, but in the latter miles of a marathon, I can't say I welcomed the wet shoes!!  Cathy and I stuck together up until mile 19 when she encouraged me to go ahead.  I picked up my pace a little bit and continued on with my mind focused on just getting to Hollywood Studios, the next park.
Running through Hollywood Studios was pretty darn cool.  I loved running though the area the Back Lot Tour ride travels through, running by the giant Sorcerer's Apprentice hat, and running down the New York City mock movie set.  Sometime around this point I stopped taking my walk breaks, and instead only walked when I took water.  That was definitely challenging, but I knew that I'd run the first 19 miles conservatively and had plenty of energy left in the tank for a strong finish.  

After Hollywood Studios, it was only a few short miles to Epcot and the race finish.  By this point I was really wanting to see my fiance and family.  My energy was definitely getting low, although my legs still felt good!  (No one is more shocked by this fact than me.)  I absolutely loved the run through Epcot, especially the world showcase.  Running by the Eiffel Tower, Mayan pyramid, and other famous sites from around the world was pretty darn cool.  And in the last mile from the finish line, there were my fans!  Seeing them gave me the extra boost I needed to dig deep and finish strong.
 I gave it everything I had and crossed the finish line with tears and a smile, as always. :)
Final finish time: 5:04:57
I felt great about this time considering I took it easy the first 19 miles and my training wasn't what it should have been.  However, my Garmin clocked 26.7 miles--an extra half mile!!  If I'd finished at 26.2 on the dot, I definitely would have come in under 5 hours!  Note to self: run the tangents.
After the marathon, I decided to forego a nap/recovery in favor of maximizing my Disney time.  We hit up Hollywood Studios and ended the night in Epcot, toasting our engagement in "Paris." 
Sporting compression sleeves, my medal, and my "Just Engaged!" button.  :) 
All in all, it was another great race and the perfect end to a perfect weekend.  I came to Florida with my eye on this amazing Mickey Medal, and left with the medal + something sparkly for my ring finger.  Not bad. :)  

And now, since it's the first time since last February that I'm not actively training for a race, I need a break!!!


  1. I loved your engagement post the other day. It made me tear up. How special. Congrats on your marathon and super special weekend.
    Grade 4 Buzz


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