Saturday, January 17, 2015

WDW Marathon Recap

Spolier alert - I DID IT!!!!

I'm a marathoner!!
Ok now that we've got that out of the way, let's go back to the beginning of the Walt Disney World Marathon - aka my first marathon!

The weather was actually perfect for racing, at least for me (besides the humidity). It was about 45 or 50 waiting for the race to start but got up to about 70 during the race. I had a long sleeve shrug that I planned to keep tied around my waist and a long sleeve throwaway shirt. I wore the shrug for three miles. It was overcast most of the race. The sun peeked out around mile 18 and I was thinking oh no! But that lasted only a few minutes and then the sky was very dark and again I was thinking oh no! I kept looking at the sky as the miles passed thinking, ok at least I got 18 miles in before the rain started, at least I got 19 miles in, etc. It sprinkled a bit for not very long around mile 18. But the heavy rain started at mile 24 and let me tell you, it sucked. For 2 miles it rained. The spectators and characters were under cover and it left just us runners splashing around in Epcot. I really just wanted to be done at that point, so I kicked it into high gear to get out of the rain.

Race Strategy
I decided way before race day that I was going to run by myself. My friends were there, but we all have different paces. I was pretty sure going into the race that this would be my only marathon, and I wanted to see what I could do. So I said goodbye to them at the start and was on my way. During training I ran a mile and then walked a bit. I used that for the race and it worked well. I would run a mile and then walk while I ate a chew, anywhere from 15-60 seconds. I also walked at most water stops. I didn't stop for any characters. Ahead of the race, I said if there was no line I would stop, but that was never really the case. A couple characters had a short line but I didn't want to stop at that point. Surprisingly, I did not stop to use a bathroom. I just never had to go.

Almost every mile I ate a Honey Stinger Pink Lemonade chew. Well every mile that I didn't have something else planned. I should back up, I ate a peanut butter bagel in race retreat and a honey stinger waffle just before the race started. I also carried an uncrustable in my pocket (again something I trained with). So at mile 6, I ate the uncrustable instead of the chew. And then I took a mile off and just had water. At mile 12ish, I ate the banana they were giving out on the course. At miles 14, 18, and 22 I had a Salted Caramel Gu. I started those earlier than I did in training because I was noticing that I was running out of energy at mile 16 and felt better after I had a Gu. The earlier Gu at mile 14 certainly helped. Not once did I feel like I was hitting a wall. I was tired, no doubt, and my legs were tired. But I never felt like I couldn't keep going. I credit that to my fuel. I know it seems like a lot to eat, but I wasn't out there to lose weight. I was out there to make it to the finish. One other thing, I did eat the chocolate at mile 23. That's because I love chocolate and couldn't pass it up. It wasn't a good idea. My stomach was off for a few minutes after that.

I don't like PowerAde and that's what Disney provides on the course. I knew water wouldn't be enough for me and that I needed some electrolytes so I bought a hydration belt and wore that during the race (also trained with it for 3 long runs). I had two 9 ounce bottles that I filled with Cocogo. I finished both of those and also refilled once and added a packet of Cocogo. I sweat a lot so the Cocogo was a big help. I also took at least a sip of water at every water stop.

I am as emotional and sensitive as they come. I cry really easily. I knew the emotions of race day would get me at least at the finish. What I didn't realize was that I would be overcome a few times during the race. Running down Main St, I started crying. I have run down Main St. three times before but never in a marathon. The castle was beautiful and still lit up. It was magical. I also teared up when I saw a sign around mile 24 that read "Someday you will fail, today is not that day." I realized at that point that I was doing it, I was going to finish. And of course, I cried like a baby when I saw that finish line. When I crossed it, I was really crying and a nice lady gave me a big hug and told me how proud she was of me. I was so proud of myself. I was the fat girl in elementary school who couldn't run the mile. Kids made fun of me a lot. And here I was, crossing the finish line of a marathon - something that not many people even attempt.

My total stranger friend who consoled me at the finish line.
Mileage highlights (and lowlights)
Mile 5/6 - I already talked about the castle. I loved it. And I actually ran through it! That doesn't happen much for me, I am usually shuffling because it's so crowded.

The only time I stopped for a Marathon Foto pic.

I'm running through the castle!!!

I am not sure where I am here, I think MK. Running is fun!
Mile 9 - The Speedway - I loathed this mile. You come to the speedway and the sign says steep incline. Yeah, it was steep. I felt like I was going to roll down the hill. And then you get to go right back up. It sucked. And the mile lap around the track was boring and I wanted to be done with it.

Over it. Especially that steep incline.
Mile 12 - I am not sure what mile I saw Lisa, but she was out front of Animal Kingdom cheering her heart out. I don't even know her all that well, she is a friend of Suzanne's that I have met a couple times. It was just so nice to see a familiar face. She even gave me a hug even though I was so sweaty and offered me fuel and sunblock. It was a nice pick me up.

Mile 13 - There was a sewage treatment plant or something. It was disgusting. The smell was horrid and I almost threw up. I had to breathe through my mouth while running by.

Mile 17 - This was good and bad. As you run by mile 17 toward Wide World of Sports, you realize that everyone else on the other side of the street is on mile 20.4. Whomp whomp. Hollywood Studios is right there, you can see it, but you won't be there for miles.

However, I did see Shannon on this stretch. It was completely random. I had nothing better to do, I wasn't listening to music, I was just taking in the sights. So since people were running the other direction right next to me, I decided to look for Shannon even though I had no idea where she was. And then - there she was!!! I screamed her name and we shared the sweatiest hug ever. It was so so nice to see her and gave me a burst of energy.

Mile 18 - I was busy taking a picture of the big Baymax balloon and I almost missed the tubs of ice cold drenched in water washcloths. Aahhhhh. It was amazing! Did I mention I sweat a ton? It was so nice to be able to wipe it all off with that washcloth.

Mile 19 - Running on the baseball diamond at WWOS sucked. It might have been ok if it hadn't been sprinkling, or maybe not. All I could think about was that I did not want that gravel in my shoes. I did get one stone in and I had to stop and get it out, which wasn't an easy feat.

Hoping I don't have any stones in my sneakers.

Mile 20 - Again, I had no idea where my other friends were, but since I had nothing better to do, I looked for them as I exited WWOS. Sure enough, there they were! Seeing Amy, Kristen, Suzanne, and Wendy was another big pick me up.

Mile 23ish - Hollywood Studios. I don't remember much about it. Except that I wanted to take this picture since the hat was coming down.

One last pic with Sorcerer Mickey's hat
Miles 24-26 - I already mentioned it was raining during these miles. However, it did cause me to run faster. I had negative splits during these miles. I wasn't so much running as shuffling. Haha. But I was passing a ton of people who had no gas in the tank and were walking at this point.

Persevering through the rain.

I think I might be coming toward the finish line here. I look a little choked up.

Mile 26.2 - I did it! I am a marathoner! If you dream it, you can do it!

I love this picture of me crossing the finish. Tears of joy right there, folks!


This was my first marathon and I am pretty sure it will be my only. I finished in a respectable (for me) 5:51:18. I am just so darn proud of myself for not only taking on this challenge to begin with, but for finishing it!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WDW Marathon - Here I Come!

This is it! Tomorrow I leave for Walt Disney World for Marathon weekend. This is what all my training has led up to. My first marathon is on Sunday! Eeeeeeek! I am so excited! I really can't wait for it. I am also super excited to hang out with the DisBroads this weekend at the parks. It's going to be so much fun.

I think back to three years ago exactly. I was on my way to Disney World for my first half marathon. I ran the first half of the Chip and Dale relay (which was the marathon course split into two). I sat in the same corrals I will be sitting in on Sunday. I chatted with people who were running a marathon and it felt odd to tell them I was just running half the course. Now here I am, 13 half marathons later and now I am running the full too!

The miracle isn't that I finished....the miracle is that I had the courage to start. 26.2, I'm coming for you! I'm ready to prove to myself that I can do anything!

Hope to see some of you there! Good luck to everyone!