One of my goals last year was to start training for a marathon. On Sunday, I used that training and complete my first marathon!!!! So, here's my recap of the 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon!
I flew down and met up with my friend, Emma, and my roommates, Rhonda and Kathy. Rhonda was also doing the full and Emma and Kathy were part of our much needed chEAR group. So, the alarm went off bright and early (well bright and dark, really) at 2 am. It was probably one of the few times I was up before my husband and he was 6 hours in the future. We had plans to meet up with some other ROTEr runners for the 3 am bus. So, the group of us (me, Emma, Rhonda, Kathy, Jenny, Carrie, Susan, Robbie and Gary) were on the first bus on the way to the start! Once we arrived, our cheer squad (Emma, Kathy and Robbie) left to go get a spot just past the castle in Magic Kingdom (around mile 5.5). Jenny, Carrie, Susan and Gary went to the race retreat so Rhonda and I continued to the H tent to meet with the ROTE group. I took a blanket with me off the airplane so we had something to sit on and eat breakfast. Joey joined us and we kept chatting to pass the time. I got some much needed hugs from Gina and Tricia then it was time to head to the corrals.
A large group of us started in E (Julie, Patrick, Nikki, Jenny, Janice, David, Kimberly and myself). We had about 30 minutes to kill before the race even started and then about another 30 until we started. Boy that time sure went by fast and before we knew it, it was time. We started out doing 30:30s with the group and worked our way to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Everyone but Julie and I had to go to the bathroom so we kept chugging away. About this this time, we saw Laura, a much needed cheer boost. Julie and I slowed our past so everyone could catch up but kept on moving. We were past mile 5 before you know it and into the Magic Kingdom. Julie said that she liked to run Main Street so we did. It was awesome! So many people were out cheering. It was only a few turns and then it was time to run through the castle. I knew what Emma and Robbie were wearing so I kept my eyes out for them and was able to stop for a quick picture and some gummy bears and then on our way again.
After exiting the Magic Kingdom, we made a pit stop at the medical tent, hoping the other group would catch up. No luck. So we kept moving. Past the back side of the Grand Floridian (a quick wave to Katie) and then to the speedway lined with classic and unique cars. After the speedway, we hit one of the worst parts of the race. The sewage treatment plant. The smell wasn't as bad as I had anticipated but the heat and the sun were the worst. No shade for several miles. Ick. But we finally made it into Animal Kingdom. We made a pit stop at a real bathroom just before Expedition Everest and finally found David and Kimberly. We passed by Kim waiting outside Everest for Steve and kept on moving. We made it to the half way point and then out of the park and into the parking lot. I started feeling sluggish and Julie asked if I had forgotten a fuel. Yes, I had. So I took it around mile 14 and then another at 15. Steve passed us looking pretty strong (Everest must have given him a second wind).
And then began the long journey to Wide World of Sports. Again, it was a long, hot stretch without much, if any, shade. Miles 16 and 21 were on the in and out legs of WWoS so we kept our eyes open for other ROTErs. Kelly passed by first saying Bob has qualified for Boston (an amazing feat alone, not to mention the heat and that it was on the Goofy race!). We then saw Joey and Matt who told us to just keep going. We turned into WWoS and saw the famous Dave. There were also sponges waiting for us (that was probably the highlight of this section). We passed Steve, ran around the track, found Peter, ran into the stadium, out of the stadium and then Peter found us again. We kept on trucking until we found a medial tent and got ice. I just held it in my hands for a long time. By this point, our intervals were all sorts of crazy. We had dropped to 30:60, just walking and then we decided to pick up 30:30 again.
We ran past the sweeper bus (wanted to look strong). And then made the turn to Hollywood Studios. I had a rock in my shoe, so we stopped a minute to get it out (by then it was too late). We made it to the hat (hey, there was a hat on the run, who knew?) and Julie said she wanted to run Hollywood Blvd. So we did. I'm sure by this point my run was more of a speedy hobble. We then exited and ran to the boardwalk. Julie pointed out the last sweep point and we knew we were safe. Emma, Robbie and Kathy were on the boardwalk just before EPCOT and asked if we needed anything. At that point, I didn't care, I just wanted to be done. Then on to EPCOT. Entering World Showcase in England was the second Laura sighting and a huge hug. After that we just tried to keep going. We took a pause after Mexico and another runner told us to keep going because we were almost there. Around Spaceship Earth, and there was Katie and Laura again with more hugs. The finish was in sight and we decided to run across it. At this point there were tears. A quick hug from Julie. My medal pick up and then a hobble to medical.
I got some ice on my way in because my feet just hurt. I knew I had blisters on the balls and heels of both feet and it made walking hard. I sat down, took my shoes off and just put my feet on ice. I was able to watch Steve, Kim, Nikki, Jenny, Janice, David and Kimberly come through the finish area while waiting for someone. The girl who tended me was so sweet and started to pop the blisters. I was one of the last ones out of the finishing area. Emma and Megan found me after being worried that something happened. We caught one of the last buses back and jumped in the pool with Jenny. It felt good just to get off my feet.
I'll post more about the trip in general and maybe do the marathon in pictures a bit later.