This is the third and final installment of the recounting of our Disney Marathon experience, written by N. I would just like to add that I was seven months pregnant at the time of this race. Happy reading!
MILES 1 – 3
We started the race on highway I4 heading towards MK. Shortly after the start, we spotted a marching band and ½ mile later a Pirate ship full of the Pirates of the Caribbean characters.
Remember when I said there weren’t enough porta-potties at the corrals, well there weren’t many more in the first 3 miles and the few that they had also had really long lines. It didn’t help that we were going very slowly. Finally, I ran ahead to get on-line for S. S didn’t want to pull the pregnant card because she felt bad that everyone trained hard and she didn’t want to hurt anyone’s time by cutting the line. While I was arguing that point with her, one of the other runners overheard us and tried asking people if S could go in front of the line. Of course all of the men said yes but the 2 young girls in front would have nothing of it, “We trained for this we are not giving up our space.” After they went, everyone else let S cut.
Of course, most of the men don’t bother waiting on line, they just walk over to the woods. Since I have a modicum of modesty I decided I would walk into the woods where the thousands of runners wouldn’t see me, let’s call that mistake number 1. Orlando is a giant swamp where it has not been developed. As soon as I took a step into the forest my foot sank to my knee in swamp and my shoes and socks were soaked through and very muddy. I walked back to the road and “squish, squish, squish” Let me tell you running 25 miles in squishy shoes and socks was not how I wanted to start!
That said the miles were easy and flat. Lots of spectators were out cheering us on and there were plenty of water and power aid tables (especially since we were just getting started).
We ran through the gates to the parking lot of MK and even though the park wouldn’t open for another few hours the attendants were all in their booths cheering us on! (yes, in the picture above, S and I are being passed by a guy juggling, he juggled 6 balls the whole marathon and was much faster than us.)
MILES 4 – 6
We are in MK’s parking lot and I am starting to get nervous. The crowd has thinned all around us and while I can’t yet see the balloon ladies I knew they are not far behind. S was doing great so we decide to try to pick up the pace a little. We went around Disney’s Motor Speedway and in front of the Contemporary Hotel.
There is a nice hill before you enter MK and at the top of the hill, I can see the balloon ladies behind us. We are only 100-200 yards ahead of them and we still have a bit to go before we are in MK. Now I’m really getting nervous. Also for some reason my bad knee hurts more from a slower walk than when I run, after 5 slow miles my knee starts to bother me slightly.
S says she is up for a little quicker pace, and we run down the hill to the park. Finally, we enter MK from the side entrance and run down Main Street with cheering fans on both sides! We went through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland and finally we approached our goal of the castle. Above us on the castle balcony we saw Elsa, Anna and Kristoff waving, they saw us and started cheering for us (I think specifically for S), “You are doing great,” they yelled, “keep going”! We made it through the castle and stopped for a picture for proof 🙂
With the balloon ladies right behind us, it was time for me to start going a little faster. S wished me luck as I put on my run/walk interval timer and set myself up for 30 seconds of run and 40 seconds of walk. I ran a quick mile and half (about 15 minutes) through Frontierland and out of the park.
Miles 8 – 10
After MK I headed onto the Motor Speedway, which was awesome. The speedway was lined with old and new muscle cars. The drivers had come out and were standing
After MK, I headed onto the Motor Speedway, which was awesome. The speedway was lined with old and new muscle cars. The drivers had come out and were standing by their cars to cheer us on! It was also kinda neat running on a racetrack surface, which is tilted. At mile 9, knowing I had put some distance between myself and the balloon ladies I took 5 minutes to do some stretching in hopes of helping my knees 🙂
Miles 10 – 12.5
After the Speedway, we head up back to the highway in the direction of DAK (Disney’s Animal Kingdom). While there normally isn’t much to see on a highway, Disney does a great job keeping lots of characters out, music and plenty of water and power aid (which was nice because there was very little shade on this part of the course).
Miles 12.5 – 14
Some very slight hills but I can now see DAK in the distance, which gives a nice energy boost. About a mile before DAK, I pass Disney’s waste and treatment center and it was quite smelly. Disney puts all sorts of cute signs along the road talking about energy/water savings the park does every year. We entered DAK through the staff entrance in the back of the park. As we entered the park the DAK staff was there lining the back entrance holding hawks and all sorts of exotic birds as well as lots of other animals like goats, sheep, alligators… it was really cool.
Running through DAK was amazing; it was like entering another country, I went through Africa, Asia and Dinoland!
Miles 13 – 17
Things started to get really tough for me. My squishy socks had caused some nice blisters to form (my anti-blister socks that worked so well in training were still completely soaked from the swamp). To top it off it was starting to rain. By mile 15, it hurt too much to run so I shut off my interval timer and started walking. I called Shoshie and asked if she could meet me at the next official stop with some new socks. However, it was tough going, each step hurt and I didn’t want to take any more painkillers (I had already taken 800mg of Ibuprofen in the morning).
Things started to get really tough for me. My squishy socks had caused some nice blisters to form (my anti-blister socks that worked so well in training were still completely soaked from the swamp). To top it off it was starting to rain. By mile 15, it hurt too much to run so I shut off my interval timer and started walking. I called S and asked if she could meet me at the next official stop with some new socks. However, it was tough going, each step hurt and I didn’t want to take any more painkillers (I had already taken 800mg of Ibuprofen in the morning).
I passed a medical tent and got some stuff called BIOFreeze, let me just say, G-d Bless BIOFreeze. I smeared it all over my knees, and it really helped (my feet still hurt but my knees felt much better). For the remainder of the race, I used BIOFreeze at almost every medical stop after that one. I also started stretching every mile and half. I couldn’t stop for any more character pictures because I knew I was walking too slowly but I also knew if I could just reach S and get new socks I would be golden. The rain washed the mud from my shoes so that was something good 🙂
Now even though I was in quite a bit a pain, I was still having a great time. The crowd of spectators were amazing and the more they see you need it, the more they give you high fives and pats on the back. Disney was also doing their part to keep me enjoying every mile.
They have lots of characters and DJ’s out there to cheer you on. The only thing I was thinking at this point was that I can’t wait to run this again next year with S and without wet socks!
Miles 17 – 18
I stopped for a long bathroom break and was a little slow getting back into it. I entered Disney’s Wide World of Sports and started looking for S. This was the one part of the course I didn’t really love. Don’t get me wrong, the Wide World of Sports is neat, you run through every type of sport field including around the baseball diamond that the Atlanta Braves do their spring training on, but sports fields don’t really interest me. I did enjoy the marching bands placed around the fields.
I finally found S at the end of mile 18, but I also saw the balloon ladies who looked to be only 10 – 15 minutes behind me (as I said I had stopped running a while ago and lost a lot of time in the bathroom). S (the Angel) was waiting for me with a banana, a power aid and warm dry socks. Let me tell you, there is nothing like warm dry socks after 18 miles of squishy socks. The new socks were all I needed to get going. My feet felt great. I put back on my interval timer and set my run to be 20 seconds of run and 40 seconds of walk.
Miles 18 – 23.5
I started heading back to the highway feeling strong and ran two 11-minute miles. I saw a guy in front of me who looked like he was having a tough time, I called out to him and sure enough it was D, the guy I met at the expo. He looked like his knee was also in trouble. I switched my interval to a 5 second run 55-second walk so that we could go together. We kept a nice conversation into Hollywood Studios (HS) and I shared with him some of my Disney knowledge (probably more than he wanted to know) 🙂
We ran through all the goods parts of HS and it was just as amazing as running through the other parks. As we entered the park they handed us mini chocolate bars, chocolate never tasted so good! By now, the parks were open so everyone was cheering for us.
As we were leaving HS, D asked to stop for a bathroom break. Big mistake for me, my whole body stiffened in those 2 minutes and I had a really hard time getting started again.
Miles 23.5 – 25
We headed to the boardwalk. Running on the boards felt great after all that highway running. The boards give a little more bounce than the blacktop, which give you a little more spring to your step so it was a nice change.
We passed the beach club, the Yacht club and entered the world showcase in EPCOT.
Miles 25 – 26
D and I split ways when we entered EPCOT, he was feeling a little better and was ready to resume a slow run. I wanted to take it easy for the last mile, my knee was really bothering me now, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t hurt it too much that I wouldn’t be able to walk around the parks Monday and Tuesday. However, I also was a little nervous about my time; after all, I didn’t want to get swept by the balloon ladies in the last mile! I stopped a cast member on a bike and asked how much of a lead did we have on the balloon ladies. She smiled and said, “Once you make it to EPCOT you can’t get swept. Take your time and finish strong!” So I did, take my time I mean. First, I figured I would stop and do 5 – 10 minutes of stretching so I could run the rest of the way. Big mistake! I should have kept going because after my stretching I was really tightened up (I stretched one way and my body tightened the other). So I walked. That last mile took 40 minutes, but they were a happy 40 minutes. As I said before, the park was now open so everyone was cheering for us. People held signs .3 to go. You can do it! I stopped for a few pictures and …
Mile 26 – 26.2
Got ready to cross the finish line! Turned the corner and there was a gospel choir singing “Hallelujah you made it!”
SO EXCITED FOR NEXT YEAR!!