My Official Walt Disney World Marathon Recap

by Meghann on January 10, 2010

This morning I set out and conquered some of the coldest 26.2 miles I have ever ran.

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Despite the below freezing temps, I rocked it!

26.2 miles in 4:12:26!

BOO-Yah! I kicked that marathon’s booty!!

My marathon morning began early when Anthony woke us up before the alarm at 3:00 am. The 5 of us staying in the hotel room quickly got motivated and ready to move.

I forced down the bagel with almond butter and had the apple once we made it to the marathon site.

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As predicted it was freezing outside. When we checked the current temp it was showing 30, but feels like 20. It was also predicted to drop a few more degrees before the sun rose.

I layered up in capris, tech tee, lululemon jacket, purple fleece (that could be tossed), gloves, headband, and hat.

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We made the freezing trek outside in order to board the buses by 3:45. Luckily the area to wait for the buses was inside in the wonderful warmth.

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All I can say is THANK GOD we stayed on property! The bus to the starting line worked out perfectly. We even drove right past the parking lot of cars that had formed while waiting to enter the Epcot parking lot. The bus did its job of alleviating unnessecary stress – just what I needed it to do.

We made it to the start with around an hour and half to spare and I believe we needed every minute of. Kelly, Monica, and I immediately hopped in a 20 minute line for the porta pottys and continued to go on about how cold it was! I believe it had dropped to 28 degrees at this point?

Getting to the corrals was very confusing. It was at least a 15 minute hike from where the bus dropped us off and we had to go through the bag drop off tents to get there.

Luckily, we found Megan and Deb who were just as lost and confused as we were.

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Don’t we look cold? Cause we were! :)

We had to say good bye to our spectators at this point as they had a different entrance to go through. The 5 of us girls made it through the other side of the 20 minute bag line where more porta potties were waiting. All the other girls stopped to use the potty, but since I was planning on running on my own anyways I said my good byes and made my way to the corral.

There were sooo many people waiting!

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I was starting to get very nervous!

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I made it to the corral just in time to see the wheel chair send off. The official start of the race started a few minutes later and came complete with Disney characters and fireworks!

I was in the 3rd corral back and had no problem running right from the start. I felt like everyone around me had the same goal and though it started out very packed, it didn’t take long thin out so I could form a comfortable pace.

There were so many spectators right past the start line. I stayed on the left searching for any sign of my family. I knew Derek had on the hoodie from his ski jacket and that’s what I looked for. I couldn’t believe when I was able to spot them in the sea of madness.

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For the first 4 miles the marathon the runners were split in two waves. I was in the first wave that ran around the backstage area of Epcot and circled back to the start. I was expecting to see some really cool things, but the backstage stuff was honestly a little boring. At one point we did enter the countries, which was a pretty site to run through in the dark.

Right from the start I noticed people all around me starting to shed layers from their person. The plan had been to shed my purple fleece in the first mile or so, but I never got warm enough. It was soo cold! My fingers felt like ice and my nose was burning.

I did ditch my hat with my parents when I saw them again during mile 4. I would have happily kept it, but the darn thing kept falling off my head.

It was so cold all the water and powerade at all the water stations were icy. In fact, the water that had spilled from people tossing their cups was freezing on the ground; creating dangerous ice patches as you ran through the station. At mile 6 I slipped on a patch of ice and landed right on my ass. Three great volunteers immediately came to my rescue and I immediately rebounded. Though I am pretty sure I am going to have a bruised ass tomorrow though.

I went back and forth on taking water or powerade from each station. I probably grabbed a powerade three times the whole race and the rest were water.

I was supposed to see Derek at mile 9, but they were delayed. However, I was happily surprised too see my little brother and his girlfriend cheering me on. Seeing your family in the crowd really boosts your speed and confidence. I felt like a million bucks!

After I saw Ben we started making our way into the Magic Kingdom. I reluctantly ditched my jacket, not because I was too warm, but because I didn’t want to be wearing the jacket in any of my Cinderella castle photos!

I instantly regretted it as soon as I tossed it! It was still freezing and the wind that the fleece had been blocking suddenly took me over. Brrrrr….

Running through Magic Kingdom was AMAZING!!

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My absolute favorite part was running through the castle. There were two men all decked out on the top of the entrance playing the horns with the flag attached – I felt like royalty!

I also thought it was cool how they had all the rides in fantasyland up and running. I ran by Dumbo flying, the tea cups spinning, and the carosal horses prancing. :)

The whole course was lined with Disney characters and scenes that people were stopping to take photos with. Most of the characters actually had people waiting to take photos with them!

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I debated getting a photo, but didn’t want to ruin my time. I wish I would have taken more photos in passing, but any time I took my gloves off my hands instantly froze. I decided it wasn’t worth freezing fingers to take photos. I kind of regret it now, but at the time I was just too cold to care. :)

After leaving the Magic Kingdom I was ecstatic to see Melissa and Derek waiting for me!!

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Seriously all the spectators were amazing to brave the cold and wind to come watch us. If I was freezing while running 26.2 miles, I’m sure they were frost bitten watching us run the 26.2 miles. :)

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After I saw Derek and Melissa, I knew I was on my own for the rest of the race. I had a bag of Sports Beans at the halfway point and just kept on trekking.

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What a lot of people fail to mention is the long stretches of service roads that make up the Disney marathon. There were miles and miles of nothingness. However, Disney does a great job of providing extra entertainment along the way to make those stretches fly by.

During one mile I read sign after sign of interesting thoughts and facts left by the sharpie people. I also ran by a few high school bands, cheerleaders, and some fun characters. I saw parts of Disney I didn’t know existed like the sewage plant, random hot air balloons, and a random railroad. And of course all the volunteers cheering us along the way were amazing. After being in their same position last year, I made sure to thank as many as I could as I passed.

I entered Animal Kingdom in the teens and it sadly flew by. I somehow missed the tree of life and expedition everest, but I did see the dinosaur area.

Miles 20 -22 were really tough. There is a huge bridge you cross in the early 20s and it is complete torture. This is also the portion of the race where my pace plummeted! I was averaging 9:00 – 9:15 miles, but then dropped to 9:30 to 9:45 and all of a sudden I was struggling to maintain near a 10:00 minute pace. I just gritted my teeth and continued on.

I took a mocha cliff goo around mile 20, hoping it would give me some energy to add the miles I needed.

Around mile 23 we entered Hollywood Studios and I knew we were almost finished. I tried to take everything in as I ran through. They were handing our mini chocolate bars as we entered the studios and I grabbed two and happily demolished them. Chocolate had never tasted so good.

After leaving Hollywood Studios we took the same path to Epcot as the 10k I ran at Disney back in October. I knew the route and knew we were almost finished.

I was very thankful Disney had chosen that particular route to end the race on. It was very scenic and a lovely way to end the marathon.

We entered Epcot with a mile and a half to go. I ran around the countries and right down the middle to the ball. As I turned the second to last corner a huge choir was singing! I ran right up to them and gave them high fives while thanking each of them for inspiring me on my last .2.

Then the time came. I turned the corner and I saw the finish line!!!

Again, there were a million spectators and I was afraid I was going to miss seeing my family. I kept my eyes glued on the crowds and just hoped against all odds i would reconize someone – anyone.

Firstn I saw Sammi who I had just met yesterday at the blogger meet up and was taking photos with Ryan.

Then I saw my family!!!!

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I was sooo happy to see them right before I crossed the finish line. Seeing them gave me that little push I needed to finish strong.

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My official finish time was 4:12:26. That’s an average pace of 9:37 per mile. Right on goal! :)

The finish line was a sea of malar.

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I was really, really, really happy to be done!

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After finishing I grabbed my medal and walked the very far distance to grab food and pick up my bag. It was then that the pain and cold started to set in. I was so cold and in so much pain that I started to cry. It was awful.

I finally made it to the family reunion area and immediately plopped down.  Melissa and Derek were the first the first to find me shivering on the bench.

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Once the hugs, tears, and congrats were out of the way, I happily enjoyed a muffin from my goodie bag.

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And then my little brother, his girlfriend and Derek proceeded to dress me in warmer clothes.

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I was in so much pain I couldn’t reach down to put my own pants on. lol

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All warm now! Million thanks to Derek for loaning me his jacket. :)

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We headed over to where my parents were stilll waiting on the sidelines and watched my sister finish her marathon. She came in a little over 4:52 and we were so proud!!!

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I loaned her my flip camera for the race. As soon as I upload and edit the video I’ll post it for everyone to watch!

Post-marathoners all layered up!

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We didn’t take many post-race shots due to the freezing temps and everyone’s yearning for the heater in the car.

I did get one with my brother and his girlfriend before they left us.

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And one with my Mom and Aunt as they helped me walk back to the car. I was really, really slow.

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We all piled up and headed down the road to Bahama Breeze for lunch.

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Kelly and I decided to go all out and get a nice juicy burger to celebrate our marathon victory.

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I ATE IT ALL!!! It was AMAZING!

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Group shot of the two marathoners and our fantastic supporters.

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and finally just My Sister and I! :) I <3 her!

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I am finally back at my toasty apartment, vegging on the couch and watching trashy tv. I had a few bites of chocolate, but was too lazy to photograph it.

I see HOT soup and fro-yo in my immediate future.

Congrats to all the other wonderful Disney world marathoners who ran today!! Everyone is so inspiring and amazing! It was a race for the ages and now we have the medal and the stories to prove it!

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