{race recap: disney 25th anniversary marathon)

It’s time! It’s finally happening! Two months after completing the the WDW Marathon, I’m finally talking about it!

Before I say anything else, I will say this race was exactly what I needed it to be. I didn’t enjoy my experience at Wineglass Marathon. It’s not that the race itself was bad (it was perfect logistically), but I felt so ambivalent towards the experience. I didn’t have performance expectations heading into it, other than to finish in the upright position under my own power (which I did), but I just didn’t love it. I didn’t want to run another marathon after Wineglass, but I was already registered for Disney. I went into this race feeling very indifferent about how it could go. I just wanted to get it done. I knew I liked Disney races. I knew I didn’t like the marathon distance. I knew I needed to find a way to marry the two so I could get it over with and never run another marathon again.

WHEW. Okay.

So the FUN stuff… I was able to spend two days in the parks. I did almost everything I wanted to do (the lines in Pandora were obnoxious… 5 hours. WHAT?). I ate everything I wanted to eat. I bought mouse ears. I got to be a basic Instagram girl and take a picture in front of the Bubblegum Wall in Epcot. I had an amazing time with the friends I roomed with. I got to hang out on Main Street USA Saturday morning to cheer on the half marathoners. Life was good!

bubblegumwall

On race day, I got up at 2am, and was out the door by 2:30 to catch a bus to the start line. It was COLD, you guys. Like… from a NH girl, this sounds stupid. But it was COLD. I spent my entire time in Florida wearing a packable down jacket and any layers I could possibly fit under said jacket, because it was cold. Race day was no exception. I wore a $2.50 tie dye blanket from Walmart like a cape… allll the way until the first mile of the race. I wore my long-sleeve throwaway until I hit the first sign of Magic Kingdom. Only once I arrived at Main Street USA did I finally get warm enough to show off my costume without all the extra layers.

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BTW, I ran as Mama Imelda from Coco. My outfit was awesome! Got tons of compliments on the Ink N Burn kit I borrowed from a friend.wdwmarathon2018sofashrunable

Race was going AWESOME until around mile 8… then my left knee started to hurt. Weird, since it was taped, and usually just my right knee gives me issues. But my left knee was. not. having. it. I kept up with my intervals until mile 13, and decided to speed walk the rest of the marathon.

Guys… that’s 13.2 miles left to walk. That is SO LONG.

Anyway… the rest of the race was fine. I stopped at a lot of aid tents for Vaseline, Biofreeze, and Advil. I stopped to stretch. I stopped to take food from strangers. A LOT of food from strangers. I pet a lot of dogs that were out with their spectator humans. I also got to see two of my roomies out there on the course, cheering. I was so glad to see familiar faces in the crowd!

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR VALUE AS A SPECTATOR. RUNNERS NEED YOU.

Can I just say?… the worst part of that entire race is through ESPN. It’s so boring in there. You’d think the roads between parks would be worse… but no. ESPN is awful. I was terrified of seeing the infamous “balloon ladies” in there, but I never did. However, I found out later that they were in there somewhere as I was leaving… which means they were probably only 30ish minutes behind me.

However, I can’t talk about the worst part without talking about the BEST part of the race. It was meeting this handsome hunk of love… I forget bunnythis giant bunny’s name, but he was hanging out on th back roads before entering Animal Kingdom. He’s wearing a race bib.  I mean, really? AND he tilted his sweet, furry little face up into my hand for a scratch between the ears. HOW CUTE!!

Fast forward to miles 22-25ish (wayyyy forward)… I ended up walking with a fellow NH runner from my She Runs This Town group. We were both DONE… I don’t know how she wasn’t broken. She ran the Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, 13.1, 26.2 on consecutive days). But she seemed happy and looked great! We separated at the 25 mile marker (it was a big marker celebrating the 25th anniversary of this particular race).

I hit Epcot and kind of lost it. The wheels fell off emotionally. I continued speed walking, so my pace was steady, but my brain was a wreck. I wanted to be done. There were so many spectators in Epcot around the World Showcase cheering us on, and it’s EXACTLY what I needed in order to finish that race. I was miserable, I hurt all over, my knee felt busted, and I was ravenous. But to have that much support heading towards the finish line (which is a 180 from Wineglass where there was barely any spectator support) was so emotional.

mexicoI spent the entire mile walking around the world doing this weird hiccup/sob thing. It was awkward.

Made it to Mexico, had to ask a spectator to take my picture (heyyyy Coco costume!).

Considered getting a frozen margarita… there were runners double-fisting beers and champagne on the course… but I just wanted to be done, so I kept moving.

And it was HARD. Honestly, the last half mile was torturous. I wanted to stop for a jump picture with Spaceship Earth in the background, but I realized I was strangely close to hitting my time goal.

Finish line. Amazing. Oh my god. Cue the ugly cry! Got my medal, thanked the volunteer, grabbed water, had ice bags wrapped around both knees, checked my watch…

6 hours 37 minutes 49 seconds

Just one minute longer than Wineglass Marathon (6:36:41, and we walked the last 10K). Mind you, I really wanted to run Disney in 6:35… but considering I ended up walking half of this race due to knee pain, I am NOT complaining about my time. Quite thrilled, actually.

I’m also quite thrilled that I will never run this distance again. I said that to the ladies in wdw3my She Runs This Town chapter, and a bunch of them said, “Oh, check back in a few months… we know you’ll change your mind!” No. Nnnnnnope. I KNOW I don’t want to do this again. I’m glad I did it. I’m even kind of glad I did it twice. But me and 26.2?

We are not friends.

Training for a marathon is no joke. It’s time consuming. It doesn’t feel good. It’s expensive. You eat yourself out of house and home. You can’t go out with friends on the weekend because you need to be up early, or you’re exhausted, or you have to get caught up on all the adulting things you didn’t do while you were out running.

But DISNEY. Oh Disney… you make great marathons. The event is organized SO well. The volunteers and staff are positively delightful human beings. The support on course is incredible – from the aid stations, to the water stations, to the cast members who are clearly on break from their shift and are out with those clapper noise makers cheering the runners on… I’m getting emotional just typing this. The entire Disney experience is AMAZING, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is considering a half or full marathon. Expensive, but you absolutely get what you pay for – the experience of a lifetime. If you’re thinking about it, stop thinking and just DO IT. You won’t regret it!

Some of my fave pics from the course photographers are below…

Best,
GraphicE

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