Jun 20, 2018

Walt Disney World FULL Marathon Recap

This post is ridiculously long overdue, but here it is. I am a marathoner.

I left for Orlando on January 5th. I got up there and met Kris at the expo. She had already been, since her Dad was running the 5k on Thursday, but we met up and walked around. The nerves were a bit higher than usual, it felt like that first half marathon.

Most of the vendors were the usuals, so just a stroll around after I got my bib and my shirt, and then I went to the official merch. My amazing bestie had already snagged what I wanted, the "I Did It!"shirt, and a 26.2 magnet. Now I just had to earn them.

I was staying at Pop Century, and was in one of the newly renovated rooms, which was nice. I had company on the trip, since Andy came with me, which was totally a great distraction from only thinking about the race. After the expo Andy and I went to Downtown Disney and has some dinner at Homecoming. OMG that was good.

Also, this was a cold weekend. I had been hoping for a cool race weekend, and looks like the gods listened to me. Friday for the 10k was the coldest morning, and looked like Sunday's marathon would be the warmest, at about 44ish. Not ideal, but I know it would warm up as the day went on.

On Saturday, Andy, Kris, and I we went to the Animal Kingdom to shake out the nerves and ride Pandora, cause we had fast passes. It was so fun. Then a stop at Hollywood Studios for boozy hot chocolate, and meeting Kylo Ren. We met up with Kris's family and our good friend Allyson for some Mexican food for dinner. Cause nothing is better than tacos. Then it was back to the hotel for flat pics and sleep before a ridiculously early wakeup call.

3am came entirely too quickly, but we got dressed and bundled up and got on the bus. As usual, I made our costumes, but made them super running friendly. I decided to go with "It's a Small World," since this was my first favorite Disney ride. Kris picked the Haunted Mansion. I'm always totally more impressed with her costumes than with mine. I think we fully captured the Mansion's cast member costumes. I'll have a separate costume post coming up soon.

Smartly, Kris picked up $2 blankets at Walmart as our throwaway stuff. These became capes around us, and really kept us warm at 3am with the windchill making it 38!

We went to our corrals (corral E) and they started going off soon enough. With the mini-waves it went off pretty fast. The nerves were in full force, and truth be told, I barely remember starting the race. But we were off.

The first few miles were just highway, as we got closer to the Magic Kingdom. At about mile 5, we were about to turn in the front gates. We decided since cameras would surely be in the park, it was time to ditch our lovely blanket capes. Brrr.

And then, boom, we were on Main Street, U.S.A. This is where it hit me. I'm running the marathon. I'm running through the Magic Kingdom (which isn't something you do often at a WDW runDisney race), "A Whole New World" is playing and I legit started tearing up. So glad Photopadd got pics of me running down Main Street.

We ran through Tomorrowland, and then around Fantasyland to run through the castle. And this time we actually rant through it. Also got a pic in front of the castle!

After we ran through Frontierland, we hit the road again and had 7 miles of characters and headed towards the Animal Kingdom. We didn't stop for any characters, since we were concerned for time. But there were plenty around and DJs for entertainment too. I felt good for these miles, since it was still well within normal half marathon range. I guess it was better to get the boring nothing happening miles done with before the second half.

And of course, since it was cold and we hadn't gone before I needed to go. So, we waited in port-a-potty lines and finally went. It was about 25ish minutes taken up on that adventure, but I was good to go after that.

At about the halfway point, we hit Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, we didn't go through Pandora,  but got some pics by the Tree of Life.

We passed through Dinoland too and then it was out of the park. the park was just opening up, so there were people walking in as we were running out. Through the parking lot, we grabbed candy from strangers and then started 5 very long highway miles. At about mile 16.5 is when my IT band decided to start hurting. Pissed me off cause it was fine for longer than this on my longer training runs, but it was too late to stop now. I took it a little easier trying to see if running or walking felt better. It was a toss up.

Thankfully, there was tons of course support. Candy from strangers, pretzels, cheering and some great signs. Plus runDisney had some entertainment out here too.

At mile 18, we got into the Wide World of Sports. this was an almost 3 mile trek through the Wide World. We ended on the baseball field, which was pretty cool, but the rest was pretty meh. In the parking lot on the way out, there were tons of people set up cheering, giving out pretzels and candy, and even shots of booze. Gotta love the running community! It was really great to see all of those people there, I didn't know any of them, but by mile 20, yup you needed that extra boost of energy from anyone.

A few more miles, next to a lot of construction going on, and we basically went in and out of Hollywood Studios. Don't blame them since the park is under major construction. The park was fully open, so they had us in a big area, and the park goers roped off in a smaller lane. And seriously, the best part of the race, the cast members had boxes of tissues on the main street as we left the park. With it being so cold, being able to blow my nose was awesome.

Then the long and narrow trek around the Boardwalk to Epcot. We entered the Epcot at the International Gateway. And saw the best sign ever, a Hamil-sign! This totally gave me a boost and I had to text Jenn to show her. At this point, I knew my battery was gonna make it and started getting messages from Jenn and Andy. It was great to get these to keep going and knowing my cheer squad was keeping up with me.

Then we turned to the steep hill towards France. This was the longest distance I've ever run in a race through Epcot. We ran all of the World Showcase except England and Canada. The park was open, but the park people, were roped off to a narrow area. This meant we had plenty of room to run.

The 25th mile marker was the special 25th anniversary photo op. Line was too long, so I just took a pic as I ran by.

We ran through all the countries, and at Germany was Snow White, no line, so Kris stopped and got a pic with her.

Then we ran through Mexico, and I saw a few people holding margaritas for people. But I couldn't stop now. We ran up the main strip of Epcot and down towards Spaceship Earth.


And boom, the 26th mile marker. It was Incredible (see what I did there?). That finish was so close.

Then we were out in the parking lot. The parking lot to finish line was a little longer than usual, seemed like it took so long.

But I crossed that finish line, hands in the air, my bestie next to me, and looked up to see Andy waiting in the stands for me. It was the best finish.

I couldn't believe I had done it. It was all over, I was a MARATHONER!!

I went and got some ice on my knee at medical, and went to the family reunion area to get hugs, congrats and even some champagne, courtesy of Kris's dad.

After we got cleaned up and got back to the hotel, we ended up canceling our lunch reservations. There would just be no time. So I ice bathed, and then Andy and I headed back to Epcot. We walked around, and miraculously, I felt pretty good.

We got some pics. And I forgot to mention, since it was the 25th anniversary of the full marathon, we all got 25th anniversary Mickey ears!

 And as we were walking to the World Showcase to find food, found that the 25th Anniversary mile marker was still up. Then it was off to get some food at spice road table and walk around the rest of Epcot. I was shocked at how good I felt. I blame it on my ice bath and the walking around.

I ended the night with a margarita, cause when you just ran 26.2 miles, you can do whatever the hell you want.

The next day, I headed to the parks to get a pic with Mickey and the castle too.

It was such an insane weeekend, but I did it. Some days I still can't believe I did all of that training and then made it 26.2 miles. But I did!

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