WARNING! This is long but there are lots of pictures!!
Well we survived!
I am sure many doubted
we would be able to finish but we
did it! A half marathon and then less
than 24 hours later a full marathon and in Disney World no less.
*Note: most pictures taken during the half marathon. Disney gives you something to look at every mile so I thought I would give you a pic or two every paragraph.*
|Jackets I bought! Now I have to finish|
|Shirts for the events. Really Nice!|
We arrived in Disney World on Thursday evening and checked
in to the Port Orleans Riverside.
On Friday morning we got up around 8am to have a quick breakfast and
then head over to the Wide World of Sports Complex for packet pick up. There are several running events going
on this Marathon Weekend. They had
a 5k on Friday morning that went around the worlds of Epcot. The half marathon
would be Saturday morning and the full marathon Sunday morning. They also added a relay option to the
full marathon. There were also
some kids races too. We signed up
for the Goofy Challenge that consisted of the half and full marathons.
We picked up our bib numbers in the
first building, while doing so they would cheer anytime there was someone who
was Perfectly Goofy meaning they have done the Goofy race each year it has been
offered for the past 7 years. We
then went straight into the store in this building to get ourselves some
jackets. In 2010 we did the
marathon and the only jacket sizes left were XL. This time we were determined to make sure we got ourselves a
jacket and wouldn’t you know only XL was left! Ack! We then made our way to the next building, which had the
expo and shirt pick up. We got the
shirts for the half, full, and Goofy.
This area had a larger store, we actually went there before getting our
race shirts, as we didn’t want to miss out on jackets and other cool
stuff. We both ended up getting
ourselves marathon jackets and I got a Goofy one too. They didn’t have a Goofy jacket in the hubby’s size; again
it was all XLs and XXLs. We also
picked up a couple other fun mementoes and ran into a hometown friend who was
here on vacation and decided to do the half marathon while she was here. After picking up our shirts we toured
the expo and all of the fun stuff they had. Touring the expo always gets me energized and ready for the
|Wide World of Sports Complex|
We headed back to the room
to drop off our new swag and headed to Downtown Disney for lunch. We walked around a bit and had lunch at
a fun Irish bar. We relaxed back
in our room and prepared for dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse in the Yacht
Club Resort which is attached to the Beach Club Resort, our favorite. Dinner
was tasty and relaxing. We headed
back to the room to go to bed early as a 3am wake-up isn’t fun.
3am rolled around quickly. We got up and quickly got ready to head out. Disney had event buses from the resorts
and they suggested you be on the buses by 4am to insure you are at the start on
time. We decided to aim for 3.30am
and we had no issue getting there.
According to the runDisney Facebook page apparently some people had some
trouble getting there on time due to traffic. Once we got to the waiting area of Epcot we checked our bag
and waited. They had a DJ and the
P90X guy took everyone through some warm ups. The weather was comfortable, a little on the cool side but a
temp that would be perfect once we start running. Eventually they herded everyone to the start area with lots
of cheers for the wheelchair racers as they headed there first. It is a good ½ to ¾ of a mile walk to
the starting areas and you go by a tram graveyard area with very clearly
not-in-use vehicles. It was kind of creepy.
|Tram Graveyard, very unDisneyish|
We got into our corral F. The nice part is each corral gets
their own start with fireworks and everything! Donald Duck started each wave. The half was very very crowded! Many times I had to run on the grass to go around people and
I am by no means a fast runner.
There were LOTS of walkers.
I am a big proponent of walking but the course became very narrow and
walkers weren’t staying to the right.
Definitely way too many people for as narrow as the course gets. We stopped several times to get
pictures with characters.
runDisney’s motto is “every mile is magic” and they do a nice job of trying
to distract you from running every mile.
There is lots to see whether it is characters, marching bands, dancers,
pictures in front of the castle, It makes for a fun time. About ¼ mile from the finish you run by
a fabulous gospel choir and that gives you the energy you need to make it to
|Hubby before the half|
|Hubby slightly happier after the half|
After getting our medals we bypassed the food line and made
our way back to the resort as we had an early dinner planned. In true swimmer
fashion I brought my kickboard and fins to kick around in the pool to try and
keeps the legs loose. After we
showered and stretched we head to Downtown Disney where we had early dinner,
3pm, reservations at Portebello’s.
We had some tasty risotto balls and I got some pasta, shocker I know. After “linner” we walked around a bit
and then got a tasty treat from Ghirardelli’s before heading back to the room to
relax and turn in early again.
|Lots of people at the starting area|
3am reared its ugly head again and was much harder the
second time around. We used the
same plan as yesterday. We started
walking to the bus when I realized I forgot my bib! That would have been
horrible! Luckily I realized it
and we didn’t lose any time. The
time before the race started seemed to go by much faster today. Before we knew it we were starting on
our 26.2 mile journey. This time
Mickey Mouse started the race. The
first 13.1 felt great. We were on
target to make our goal time and were 10 minutes faster than the previous day. Unfortunately shortly after hitting the
half way point things started to fall apart. We are in Florida and well unlike the last time we ran the
marathon here it was warm! Luckily
they have rest stops every 1.5 miles or so and I chugged down the Powerade
every chance I got.
|Yoda ran the race!|
The first half of the course is pretty nice. You start near Epcot, run to Epcot and
around and then at mile 4 you are back at the starting area, so you really
haven’t made much progress but then you start heading towards Magic
Kingdom. Before getting into the
actual park you go through the Transportation Authority which in both races
tricked me into thinking we were entering the park except we still had about 2-3
miles to get there. After going
through here we start running towards the Contemporary Resort which is a neat
looking building, the monorail goes through the building!
When you do enter Magic Kingdom it is awesome!! You enter on the side by the Christmas
tree and then straight down Main Street USA towards the castle. Right before the castle you go right
into Tomorrowland and around the back side of the castle and then running
through towards the front, that’s amazing too. Next a right into Liberty area and out a side gate to start
the long, long trek to Animal Kingdom.
Shortly after Magic Kingdom is when you hit that half way mark.
Running into Magic Kingdom parking area
At this point you have the high from
the Magic Kingdom and all the cheering but the crowds are gone and you are pounding
the pavement in some very remote back areas. They give you some entertainment every mile but its still
hot and if you aren’t stopping that entertainment only lasts you a couple
minutes and there isn’t much shade either. On the long stretch to Animal Kingdom to you get to go by
such beautiful Disney sights as the waste water treatment plant and the compost
piles. Yup you go much faster
trying to get through those areas.
Kudos to the volunteers at the water stop by the compost piles. Thanks
for being there for hours!
Eventually you get to Animal Kingdom and it seems like forever to get
there and its over so fast. As you
enter the back areas they had fun animals like goats, sheep, and screech owls
whom you could stop to take pictures with.
Entering Magic Kingdom, running down Main Street USA
After quickly going through Animal Kingdom you are back
to main roads headed towards
Hollywood Studios. Luckily once
you hit Hollywood Studios it is
action packed til the finish. Getting there was much harder than I
remembered. I was hot, tired, and
sweating less. This was not as
enjoyable as last time. I had to
take a walk break that wasn’t associated with a water stop. I felt so guilty that I was letting the
hubby down but I was so freakin tired.
After a few minutes I had enough energy to run to the next water
station. We eventually made it to
Hollywood Studios and we knew the end was getting closer. You enter on the opposite side of the
Tower of Terror (the best ride ever!) and see that the whole front of the
building is fake and its open behind it, way cool. There is also a candy stop right away. Jeff had a
Krackel…again. I had some fruit
snacks and boy did they taste amazing at this point. We ran by the animation studios and through where they were
making costumes and around the back of the park by the Backlot tour then up
through the city with a left by the SciFi restaurant and American Idol
experience to the main center isle of the park where there were tons of people
watching. At this point the park
is open to the public which poses interesting challenges for Disney cast
members as guests need to get from one side of the park to the other across the
race course. They used a jumprope
to divert runners to one side or another around an island that gets guests
halfway across. As usual Disney has
thought of everything.
Quick one in front of the castle
As we exit
Hollywood Studios we are greeted with cheers outside the park as we head to our
final park. We run along canal by
the resorts where there is a DJ playing Justin Beiber on a constant loop. He
said it would make us run faster to get away! We ran in front of our favorite
resorts on the way to Epcot. We
entered near the beginning of the worlds and ran around all of the worlds and
back toward the entrance and the big ball where we again divert to the right
and go past the gospel choir. We hi-fived Goofy just as we ran to the finish
line. We were so incredibly happy
to finish. We got our Mickey
Marathon Medal and then headed directly to get our Goofy Medal. In those last 6 miles we just kept
reminding ourselves of the good dinner at Citricos we would be having and the
medals. We kept running for the medals and damn do they look good!
Making good progress on the half
On one of our bus rides we met a woman who has done all 19
Disney marathons and all 7 Goofy Challenges and this year did the 5k as well to
keep the streak going. I am so
impressed by her dedication to the series. She said each year there is an extra that the folks with a
perfect streak get. She keeps
going because she doesn’t want to be out of the perfect club.
|Professor from Duck Tales|
They don’t call it Goofy for nothing. Overall it was a tough
tough challenge but I am glad to be able to say that I completed it. We didn’t make our marathon goal time
but we were only off our 2010 marathon time by 5 minutes which is pretty good
considering we ran a half marathon the day before. We wore Agent P shirts from Phineas and Ferb and got 17
shoutouts about our shirts! Some
kids in Hollywood Studios loved the shirts! I am very proud of our accomplishment and it is something I
never thought I would be able to accomplish, considering I actually don’t like
running that much.
|Serge from Toy Story making everyone "Move! Move! Move!"|
- Thank you Disney for providing the challenge but I won’t be
doing it again.
- Thank you volunteers for being there for hours upon hours.
- Thank you cast members for providing entertainment for 26.2
- Thank you to my hubby for being my running buddy for the
past 5 months as we got ready for this.
- Thanks to our friends and family for their support and well
|The Hardware! This run was all about getting the medals!|
|Proudly displayed on our mantle|