Thursday, January 22, 2015

WDW Marathon: Race Recap

Here it is folks: my WDW Marathon Recap!

This was by far the most challenging race for me- mentally, physically, and emotionally. This recap will be long (at least twice as long as my half marathon recaps ;)  ) and I hope you'll stick around to the end. :)

When I registered for the full marathon, I was super excited. I had about 5 half marathons under my belt and I really wanted to knock this one off my bucket list. What better place to run it than at Disney World, right? I got my husband on board as well and I knew it would be a great race!

Fast forward to the end of 2014- that excitement dwindled, considerably. We were moving around a lot (I lived in 4 places in 4 months!) and my training was no where near where it should have been. I ran 2 half marathons in November (Wine & Dine and Avengers), but after that I got in 3 long runs before the full: 9 miles, 11 miles, and 18 miles. I do not recommend this plan! I seriously only did the 18 miles to try and give myself some courage that I could actually finish this thing. All the while, I was battling knee pain- my guess is ITBS. The holidays were busy as usual and not much running happened.

Then about a week before we were set to fly to Orlando, we got word that my uncle was in the hospital and he was not doing well. I spent the weekend before the races with family at the hospital before he passed away. He had been suffering from a rare disease for a few years, but it was still a shock. Especially since my Grandma passed less than 6 months before.

My family and I had a long debate about deferring the whole vacation, but in the end we decided to go. I know some people may not agree with our decision, but it was right for us and I'm glad we went. 
On a side note: runDisney was very gracious with our situation. We debated whether to defer or not (this was about 9 days before the full) and after speaking to a runDisney rep, they advised that an email detailing my situation was the best route. I was told that it may take a bit for a reply due to the number of emails they were getting. I got a reply from them the night before the race, offering a deferral and they would even waive the fees. We were already in WDW and had decided to run, but I was still very appreciative.

Okay, enough of the sad story; let's move onto race day.

I had a date with this Mickey medal!

I didn't go into the race quite the way I had anticipated, but I was there and ready as I'd ever be. My husband, Anthony, was with me, but he hadn't run in over a month and his longest run was a half he ran about 8 months ago... He said he would try and stick with me as long as he could. Our goal was just to make it halfway and ride Everest together. Oh, and did I mention he got new shoes at the Expo to wear for the run? They were a better choice than his old shoes, which were way past their expiration date.

This is his "why the heck am I doing this?" face. ;)

We started in Corral J. Anthony moved back from D to be with me. It was cold waiting for so long, but I'm glad I wore a tank top as it warmed up later on. I didn't even make it a mile before I had to pee. Haha. :)

Magic Kingdom Toll Plaza!
Taking on my first full, I didn't want to run in a full-on costume. Since the marathon is Mickey's race, I decided to embrace the ears. My skirt is from Sparkle Athletic and ears were purchased at the parks. I even had matching polka dot KT Tape!

Between miles 5 &6 we ran down Main Street! The street was full of spectators cheering!

About to run through the castle. Kristoff, Anna, & Elsa were waving to us.

Castle selfie. :)

We headed backstage and they had a float out from one of the parades. Flynn and Rapunzel were out for the photo op.

Around mile 8, we ran along the speedway, which was pretty cool! There were a lot of cars out: classic, luxury, and race cars. We took this time to walk a lot and snacked on peanut butter filled pretzels. Yum!

Guess who I ran into?!
Lauren from Lauren's Glass Slipper! She was battling ITBS since the half the day before, but she powered through and completed Dopey! Congrats, Lauren!

This picture really cracks me up. I told Anthony I wanted to take a picture with the topiaries. Apparently since I was dressed as Minnie, this meant replacing her topiary with me. ;)

Before we knew it, we were into Animal Kingdom. Which meant one thing: Expedition Everest! We were both grateful for the break- my left knee was hurting and Anthony was tired in general. It was around now that he said if we took things slow and stopped for pictures, etc, he thought he'd be able to finish. Yay!

The line for Everest was pretty long- it extended well out into queue on before entering the building, but it moved super fast. We got there around 8:45am, so it was mostly runners with a few spectators.

There was a lot more cheering and screaming than when we rode during regular park hours. Everyone was so excited to be able to ride a roller coaster in the middle of running a marathon. :)

Aside from my finish line photo, this is my favorite picture from the race. It just captures the fun and excitement of it all.

After our Yeti adventure, we hit the road again. 

13.1 miles! Half way!

I couldn't help but think that this was usually our finish line.

A photo op with Minnie and Daisy

And Mickey, of course. Anthony told me later that he didn't think Mickey realized he was there until after the picture and he may have scared Mickey.

Anthony, having never run further than a half marathon, was oh-so-kind as to remind me of how far he'd run.

Mile 14: "Hey, Kim! Guess what? This is the furthest I've ever run!"
Mile 15: "Hey, Kim. Guess what?! I've never run this far before!"
Mile 16: "Hey, Kim? Guess what! THIS IS THE FURTHEST I'VE EVER RUN!"

You get the picture.
It was just the right amount of humor I needed. :)

All the traffic the race caused... 
The day before, I overhead a gentleman complaining to hotel concierge that the race was too loud. Apparently he could hear an announcer shouting "make it a great day!" Over and over and over again. At 5am... Sorry!

As we entered the ESPN Wide World of Sports area, I hit the dreaded "wall." 
We were at mile 16.5 and we could see the people coming back out of ESPN. They were passing mile marker 21. TWENTY-ONE! Realizing how far I had to go and how much my knee hurt, I lost all motivation.

The track, meant for running, was completely walked. And I don't mean power walked. I mean slow turtle walking. I honestly thought this was the end. I was ready to sit down and call it quits.

But then I realized- there are only 2 ways to the end: I could get swept, but that meant waiting for the bus, or I could keep moving. Moving won out.

It was also around here that we realized my FlipBelt may have been a little too tight and was making my insides rather uncomfortable. Anthony opted to carry it for me and wore it around his neck. Such a trooper!

20 miles! Never thought I'd make it this far!

Right around mile 20, someone pushed me. It wasn't a hard shove, but more of a two handed push out of the way. I'm super thankful I didn't fall or worse, get pushed into another runner's path, but I was really surprised. I had been walking all the way on the right side of the road with my husband on the grassy area next to the road. A runner decided she needed to clear a path for her and her two friends to run. And then less than 5 feet, proceed to throw up her hand to indicate they were going to walk.

I get that you need to run and I get that it's crowded, but please, if you're going to run, don't try and clear a path between the walkers on the side of the road (who are following etiquette). Or at least say excuse me.
Okay, getting off my soap box now.

As we left ESPN, we ran along the same road coming into the area. Mile 16-17 going in, Mile 20-21 going out. On the way out, there were no more runners, just street sweepers cleaning up cups, etc. That meant the balloon ladies were less than 4 miles behind us! Eeeeekkk! Definitely picked up the pace after that!

Mile 22: Heading into Hollywood Studios

It had started to rain again... yay...

But there was another food stop: Candy!
The volunteers were yelling for us to take our candy from strangers. :) Yes, please!

I had to stop for a picture with the plane. My dad, former Air Force, likes fighter jets.

My parents and brother were also along for this trip. My brother ran the half the day before. They met us inside Hollywood Studios to cheer us on and offer support snacks. It was a huge boost to see them!

Miles 24-25
We ran past the Swan and Dolphin Hotels and in front of the Yacht Club Resort. Anthony really liked the look of the Yacht Club (mainly the beach) and kept saying he wanted to stay there next time. Next time, eh?! Even in my running-induced delirium, I remembered that!

It was around here when we turned to each other and said we might actually make it!
Cue the silly faces!

A quick photo op with Aurora in Epcot

And another in Italy. I insisted on this one since we had visited visited Italy just a year ago.

As we approached the Epcot "golf ball," I struggled to hold in my tears. My uncle loved to golf and I know he was somewhere watching over us, playing his best game.

Mile 26! Almost there!

And finally... the finish line! I knew this was a must-have photo for me. I didn't care about our time, so we waited in line before crossing the finish.

Pretty sure my first words after crossing the finish line were: "Holy ****, we just ran a marathon!"

Finish time: 6hr 54mins, 15:49 min/mile pace.

I may have been slow, but I still went all 26.2 miles and I'm proud of what we accomplished.
There were times when I wanted to quit and I honestly could not have done it without Anthony's encouragement and support. I'm still in shock that he did it with zero training!

I'm sure you're all wondering- will I go for Goofy or Dopey next year?
No. The marathon for me was one-and-done. I'll stick to half marathons. The marathon was on my bucket list and we've got bigger things we're focusing on now, like buying a house! Plus, Disneyland is much closer!

Have you participated in the WDW Marathon weekend before? How was your experience?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I'm a Marathoner!

I'm officially a marathoner!

I just got back home after a fun trip to Walt Disney World with my marathon medal in tow. I also came back with an unwanted souvenir- a nasty cold. :/ I'll have a full race recap soon, but my husband and I had a great time taking it slow and having fun.

If you ran WDW Marathon Weekend, I'd love to hear how your race(s) went!
Let me know in the comments or post a link to your race recap!